News Release

NACDL Statement on AG Holder's Remarks on the U.S. Government's Secret ‘Execution Before Judgment' Program 

Washington, DC (March 5, 2012) – The American people are entitled to clear notice and detail concerning precisely what kind of due process there is to impose capital punishment on U.S. citizens in the absence of judicial review or, indeed, any independent reviewing body. Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech today at Northwestern University School of Law appeared to detail the decision-making principles involved in the government’s secret program targeting U.S. citizens for extra-judicial killing. Last fall, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking the legal memoranda justifying the targeting of Americans overseas with lethal force and the role the Department of Justice plays in extrajudicial executions. The request is still outstanding and today’s presentation by the Attorney General at Northwestern does not satisfy that request. We hope that now that Attorney General Holder has publicly discussed the extra-judicial targeting of American citizens, the Department of Justice will release the legal justifications and processes in their entirety. 

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Ivan Dominguez, Deputy Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or

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.