A Joint Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Statement of NACDL
Washington, DC (April 3, 2008) – NACDL believes that every accused person has the right to competent defense counsel to prepare a defense. This is no less true for the Guantanamo detainees who face prosecution and possible execution by the U.S. government. In light of the government’s stated intention to seek the death penalty against the so-called “high value” detainees, it is critical to America’s international reputation that these individuals have access to defense teams with resources that are at least on par with any other federal capital prosecutions.
Accordingly, NACDL is working to assemble fully-staffed and experienced defense teams. These teams will be available to augment military defense counsel, subject to request by military counsel and their assigned clients.
It is especially appropriate that the nation’s preeminent criminal defense bar association assists in facilitating representation for these detainees. The announced rules and procedures for these commission trials raise serious questions about the government’s commitment to constitutional principles that are the bedrock of American liberty. A vigorous and properly resourced defense is essential to contest these proceedings.
Military and civilian NACDL lawyers have been representing detainees for almost five years, in the civilian courts, before military commissions and in the federal courts and will continue to do so as part of our mission to ensure competent representation and due process for all. The association itself has filed nearly a dozen friend-of-the-court briefs on behalf of military prisoners in the war on terror, including Boumediene v. Bush and Al Odah v. United States, the case currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
If the government goes forward with commission prosecutions and seeks the death penalty for any detainee, we feel obligated to marshal the resources of the defense community and render whatever assistance the military defense office requests on its own behalf and on behalf of its clients.
That will require funding. Capital cases are expensive, often prohibitively so. There is no realistic way to expect experienced capital defense counsel to devote many months defending a person on trial for his life in a courtroom far from home without support. NACDL will seek to provide that support.
Visit the John Adams Project website.
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.