Washington, DC (April 29, 2009) -- Assistant United States Attorney General Lanny Breuer today announced that DOJ and the administration support ending the 100:1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine and equalizing the sentencing regimes. The policy position, declared at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, is the first time the Department of Justice has publicly supported equalization of cocaine sentencing.
Currently, Federal drug sentences for possession and sale are based on the weight of the controlled substance. For over two decades, for example, possession of five grams of cocaine base (crack cocaine) has triggered the same mandatory five year sentence as possession of 500 grams of powder cocaine.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) supports fully the administration’s abandonment of an unjust penalty scheme that has resulted in overwhelming and irrational racial disparities in our prison population for essentially the same offense. For a generation, NACDL has maintained that the penalty for possession of a drug should never be more harmful to a person or society than the drug itself.
In his April 29, 2009, testimony submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Crime and Drugs, NACDL President John Wesley Hall explained that “For more than twenty years, the sentencing disparity for crack as compared to powder cocaine has come to symbolize the flaws of the federal sentencing system and the shortcomings of the Sentencing Reform Act.”
NACDL strongly urges Congress to immediately change the federal sentencing laws in accordance with the current position of the Obama administration and the Department of Justice and altogether end the disparity in sentencing as between crack and powder cocaine.
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.