Washington, DC (March 16, 2010) – I have been following the McCarthy-style attack campaign being waged against the Justice Department lawyers who formerly provided legal assistance to Guantanamo detainees and military commission defendants. That is why I was so pleased to see lawyers from across the country and across the political spectrum defending the constitutional role of legal counsel in justice system. As President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the world's largest criminal defense bar association, I want to thank all of them for standing up to persons who would tear our country apart and weaken the rule of law for the sake of scoring a few political points.
Some of the finest legal minds in the country – many of them brilliant young lawyers with tremendous earning potential in the private sector – have chosen instead to serve the public interest in the Department of Justice. These lawyers understand the constitutional right to a vigorous defense and the right not to be imprisoned without charges. They are assets to our country whether they are representing the Department of Justice or the detainees.
Vague allegations of “conflict of interest,” that somehow these lawyers could prejudice the interests of the United States, are fanciful and misplaced. Conflicts between prosecuting attorneys and the accused are governed by the general conflict of interest rules, which are based on simple fairness and basic common sense. The ethical rules routinely help lawyers and firms avoid potential conflicts. As Attorney General Eric Holder has noted, the rules generally do not prohibit lawyers who once represented plaintiffs in a cause from representing defendants in the same area of law, or vice versa. While care must be taken to ensure that the lawyers’ former clients are not adversely affected, the rules in no way diminish the Department appointees’ loyalty to DOJ and the Constitution.
What saddens me about this non-story is that some selfishly seek to tarnish public servants, military lawyers and private counsel with unfounded nonsense and innuendo in order to advance their political agendas.
Let me be perfectly clear: securing the rights of the accused redounds to the benefit of our country and preserves our stature as a defender of liberty in the eyes of the world. The military and civilian lawyers who zealously represent Guantanamo detainees are some of the finest counsel I have ever seen, and in the noble tradition of John Adams, they deserve our thanks.
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.
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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.