Washington, DC (April 28, 2014) – Today, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear a case highlighting the dangerous consequences stemming from the unconstitutional executive expansion of the federal law. In Yates v. United States, the government used a post-Enron anti-shredding statute to prosecute a fisherman for the disappearance of three fish from his shipping vessel.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) has a long history of opposing the type of inappropriate prosecutorial overreach evident in this case. In the amicus brief NACDL filed supporting certiorari in Yates, it argued that prosecution in this case is a clear example of unconstitutional executive expansion of the federal law. NACDL’s amicus further shows how this kind of overcriminalization leads to ludicrous federal convictions for offenses that would be much better addressed through civil means. This very same issue is currently being examined by the House Judiciary Committees Task Force on Overcriminalization, which has held six substantive hearings on the subject of overcriminalization since its creation last May.
NACDL Amicus author William N. Shepherd said: "Overcriminalization of the federal law has become all too pervasive a problem in America. The post-Enron laws were not intended to be used to prosecute and convict a fisherman, but that is exactly what has happened here. This type of overreach by the government steps on the rights of all Americans. The Supreme Court’s interest in this case echoes a growing public concern with governmental overreach in the federal criminal law and I’m pleased the justices have agreed to hear the case."
NACDL’s amicus brief in Yates v. United States is available here.
To learn more about NACDL’s extensive work on the problem of overcriminalization in America, please visit www.nacdl.org/overcrim.
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.
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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.