Washington, DC (January 18, 2007) -- The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) today criticized the Defense Department’s Manual for Military Commissions, stating that the rules are unfairly weighted in favor of military prosecutors and were finalized without a public comment period.
“Given the level of national and international interest in the commissions and the legal background of the Military Commissions Act, the importance of notice and comment is unquestionable,” NACDL President Martin S. Pinales said in a letter sent to Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week. The letter urged the DOD publish the rules in draft form for public commentary in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act. In enacting the APA, Congress recognized that notice and comment enhances the quality of rule creation and policy articulation, as well as public understanding and acceptance of agency actions. It was co-signed by Jack B. Zimmermann and Donald G. Rehkopf, co-chairs of NACDL’s Military Law Committee, which is reviewing the rules in order to advise commission defense counsel.
NACDL Board Member Joshua Dratel, civilian counsel for Guantanamo prisoner David Hicks, said after examining his copy of the manual, “the rules are designed to ensure convictions.” Hicks is scheduled to be among the first group of defendants tried by a commission, which will have the power to impose the death penalty.
“Hearsay, double hearsay, and coerced confessions are all admissible, including statements extracted from witnesses by torture. Given the shaky constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act, the detainees’ habeas corpus right The Military Commissions Act unconstitutionally denies the right of habeas corpus to Guantanamo detainees. to challenge their detention – and the validity of any conviction -- is more important than ever,” Pinales said.
To read the Manual for Military Commissions, click here.
Pattern Cross-Examination for DNA and Biological Evidence: A Trial Strategy Guide
NACDL’s Pattern Cross-Examination for DNA and Biological Evidence will assist criminal defense practitioners in scoring points when cross-examining forensic experts in cases involving DNA and biological evidence. This resource contains thousands of questions that will help defense lawyers cross-examine challenging witnesses without reinventing the wheel with each new case. It includes pattern questions that can be used to dominate prosecution DNA experts and level the playing field at trial.
Cross-Examination of the Analyst in Drug Prosecutions (2nd Ed.) By James M. Shellow
Now in its second edition with some new material, James M. Shellow’s book offers what its title promises: ways of thinking about cross-examining the forensic analysts in drug cases. But the book is so much more than that. It offers a look inside the mind of one of the finest cross-examiners and defense lawyers the United States has produced in the last seventy years. This small book can inspire and direct you in making big changes in the way you defend your clients and think about the entire project of trying any case.
Justice For All, Justice Now White T-Shirt (Women’s)
This custom, vintage-faded NACDL t-shirt is 50% polyester, 25% cotton, and 25% rayon weighing 5.2 oz. and is lightwieght, flexible and soft, providing maximum comfort. It features the "Justice For All, Justice Now" slogan and Lady Liberty image on the front, with the NACDL logo on the back. Currently available in both men's and women's sizes in both black and white colors. View the full line-up of colors and sizes on our online store, as well as our other popular and best-selling t-shirt designs at: nacdl.org/store.
Drug Cases Resource Materials Collection - CD-ROM
NACDL’s Drug Cases Resource Materials Collection is the sweeping culmination of every single article of written materials ever published from each installment of NACDL's annual "Defending Modern Drug Cases" seminar. Totaling over 12,000 pages, this vast collection includes 12+ years of motions, briefs, reports, outlines, transcripts, case citations, scholarly articles, powerpoints and other written commentaries. This collection provides trial strategies and tactics you can immediately apply to your current cases.
Mental Illness & the Law: Addressing and Litigating Behavioral Health Disorders in Criminal Cases
Whether it is insanity, impairment, a disorder, or adolescent brain development; mental health and intellectual competence issues affect pretrial supervision, trial and sentencing, and your chances of successfully advocating for your impaired client. This training provides ideas and proven solutions to assist you in advocating for your client during trial, whether it be insanity defenses, jury selection, cross of expert witnesses, persuasion, or mitigation at sentencing.
NACDL Communications Department
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.