Washington, DC (March 20, 2013) – Today, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013. If enacted, this legislation would restore essential judicial discretion to permit a sentence below harsh and inflexible statutory minimums based upon the court’s assessment of the particular facts and circumstances of the case and the offender. The expanded safety valve would apply to all federal offenders facing mandatory minimum sentences for any crime. Its purpose would be to prevent the kind of unjust and irrational criminal punishments the nation has witnessed under the ever-expanding mandatory minimum sentencing regime of the last few decades.
NACDL President Steven D. Benjamin said: “This measure will restore rational punishment to federal sentencing. It is long overdue. The United States leads the world in imprisonment largely because mandatory minimum sentencing requires judges to impose unjust sentences. While federal prisoners only account for about 10% of the staggering 2.2 million people incarcerated in this country, this measure would go a long way toward restoring the proper sentencing role of the judiciary to America’s criminal justice system. I am pleased that the efforts of NACDL and numerous allied organizations helped pave the way for the introduction of this legislation.”
If adopted, judges will be empowered to depart from federal mandatory minimum sentences where those sentences do not comport with the goals of punishment, as set forth in the law – including public safety, rehabilitation, deterrence, and fairness. Of the currently more than 170 federal mandatory minimum sentences, a narrow safety valve exists only for drug offenses. With some 26% of the Department of Justice 2013 budget request (according to the DOJ’s Inspector General) being consumed by the escalating federal prison budget, which includes an estimated annual cost of about $28,000 for each prisoner housed in the BOP’s overcrowded facilities, this legislation makes good fiscal sense as well.
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, Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.