Washington, DC (March 23, 1995) -- Proposals that would corrode the constitutional pillars of our legal system and undermine our cherished American democracy are now making their way through Congress.
S.3, the new crime bill introduced by the Senate Republican leadership, contains -- among its major provisions affecting federal constitutional and criminal law -- Section 507(a), which shifts to the defendant the burden of proving that a confession was obtained in violation of the Fifth Amendment. Such a relaxing of the government's responsibilities in criminal prosecutions is inconsistent with the scheme of limited government embodied in the Bill of Rights and vouchsafed for over 200 years by the judicial branch of government.
Similarly, in the spirit of expediency, S.3's Section 507(b) would abolish the exclusionary rule, under which evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment is excluded from consideration in criminal cases, and Section 507(c) would substitute a civil tort remedy in place of the exclusionary rule as a remedy for police lawlessness. Since -- as the courts have consistently held -- exclusion of evidence is the only effective mechanism for enforcing the Fourth Amendment's limits on government intrusions into citizens' privacy, elimination of the exclusionary rule removes the very life from the Fourth Amendment and licenses individual law enforcement agents to decide for themselves whose homes they'll search.
Both of these proposals seek to usurp the fundamental role of the judicial branch in interpreting the Constitution and preserving its constrains against abuses by officials who act with the shield of the government.
NACDL President Gerald H. Goldstein of San Antonio, Texas, alerted the Senate Judiciary Committee to the serious, historic dangers of these extreme proposals in testimony earlier this month. Following is a summary of that testimony. The complete text is available upon request.
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.