Washington, DC (January 27, 2015) – This morning, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the "Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act of 2015" in both the House and the Senate, respectively. The National Association of Criminal Defense lawyers (NACDL) supports this legislation as it would bring much-needed improvements to federal civil asset forfeiture laws. As explained in NACDL President Theodore Simon's letter to Members of Congress, "Under current law, the government can confiscate money and property of individuals and businesses without convicting, or even charging, that person or entity with committing a crime."
The FAIR ACT of 2015 would, among other things:
- raise the level of proof required to seize property to the more reasonable standard of "clear and convincing evidence," which would help protect property owners;
- provide indigent property owners with appointed counsel;
- require the government to prove that an owner was aware that property was being used in criminal activity—an important legal requirement that would help ensure that money and property is not mistakenly or unfairly seized;
- eliminate an agency profit incentive by prohibiting the Justice Department from retaining assets seized through civil forfeiture for their own use and instead would mandate that the proceeds of forfeiture go to the Treasury's General Fund, where Congress can appropriate the money for any purpose; and
- abolish the federal "equitable-sharing" program that allows state and local law enforcement to do an end-run around state laws and allows them to profit from civil forfeitures in situations where normally they could not.
NACDL President Theodore Simon wrote in his letter to every Member of Congress: "We can no longer ignore the conflicts of interest and policy problems that arise when law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies reap financial bounty from the forfeiture decisions they make. Decisions regarding whose property to seize, and how to deal with citizens whose property has been seized, are too often dictated by the profit the agencies stand to realize from the seizures. State and local law enforcement agencies frequently work with federal agencies on forfeiture cases and share the proceeds of the forfeiture. This procedure thwarts state laws and violates federalism principles. The federal government's participation in this preemption of state priorities should be eliminated by Congress. NACDL urges you to support the commonsense improvements contained in the FAIR Act."
To learn more about NACDL's work in the area of forfeiture reform, visit www.nacdl.org/forfeiture.
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.
Ivan J. Dominguez, NACDL Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or email@example.com for more information.
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.