Washington, DC (January 21, 2009) -- In one of his first official acts, President Barack Obama, in the hours after he was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2009, instructed prosecutors in the Military Commission proceedings at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay to seek a 120-day suspension of pending legal proceedings at “Camp Justice.” In light of that Presidential order, the U.S. government filed a motion last night to continue the matter of U.S. v. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, et al., for 120 days. The motion was granted this morning by the presiding military judge, Col. Stephen R. Henley. In his order, Col. Henley suspended all military commission sessions until May 20, 2009, finding it in the interests of justice to provide the new Administration time to review the process and to decide the proper forum to prosecute the accused.
“A 120-day suspension just kicks the can down the road without making any commitment to ending the military commissions,” said Michael Price, National Security Coordinator for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “It is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough. The commissions system is fundamentally flawed and should be scrapped altogether; extending its existence for another four months is unacceptable. Charges against the accused should be immediately withdrawn and their cases transferred to the proper forum.”
A second Presidential order is anticipated soon, perhaps as early as this afternoon, directing the Department of Defense to empty the prison camps of all detainees.
“The time is long past for calling these persons ‘detainees.’ They’re prisoners, many of whom the government now admits have committed no crime, erroneously detained and imprisoned because no one had the guts to admit a mistake,” NACDL President John Wesley Hall said in a statement last week.
Prior to his inauguration, President Barack Obama said he will close the camps at Guantanamo, but later added, “it’s going to take some time.” This action suggests they may take up to a minimum of 120 days before making substantive, lasting determinations as to how to proceed regarding these prisoners.
In an article in this month’s issue of The Champion, available on NACDL’s Web site, Hall says that existing federal law and procedures are sufficient to handle Guantanamo cases and prisoner relocation. He argues that the camps ought to be, and can be, emptied immediately, that prisoners should be sent home to their families “with our deepest apologies,” and that options are available were relocation is not possible or ill-advised.
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.