Washington, DC (Jan. 25, 2011) – As more than a decade of crime lab scandals have shown, forensic evidence presented in court is, at times, often bogus – based on speculative research, inadequate quality control, and subjective interpretations. Ensuring the scientific integrity of forensic evidence is essential to preventing wrongful convictions and exonerating the innocent.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers appreciates Sen. Patrick Leahy for introducing the Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Reform Act of 2011. Two years ago, the National Research Council of the National Academies in Washington, D.C., issued a landmark report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, which set forth a roadmap for forensic evidence reform and renewed the call for fairness in the criminal justice system. NACDL’s own report, Principles and Recommendations to Strengthen Forensic Evidence and Its Presentation in the Courtroom, which supports the recommendations of the NRC Report, was approved and adopted by the association’s board of directors in February 2010.
“The great number of exonerations in the past two decades has greatly undermined the public trust in the criminal justice system,” said NACDL President Jim E. Lavine, of Houston. “Confidence that the system correctly identifies the perpetrators of criminal offenses and prevents wrongful convictions has been eroded by lab scandals around the country, and discoveries that convictions have been obtained through error, poor training, pseudoscience, and sometimes outright fraud,” Lavine said.
“NACDL has been advocating forensic reform for many years, and we look forward to the opportunity to share our expertise and concerns with the Senator to help advance the goals of this legislation,” said Atlanta criminal defense lawyer Drew Findling, who chairs NACDL’s Forensic Disciplines Committee. “NACDL still supports the NRC’s well-reasoned call to create a forensic science entity independent of law enforcement in order to create what we call a ‘culture of science’ to replace what has been called a ‘culture of convictions’ by some critics. With appropriate modifications, the Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Reform Act could be a giant leap in that direction.”
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.