Washington, DC (May 15, 2009) – Numerous press reports indicate that President Obama is prepared to revive the unconstitutional Bush-era military commissions for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, many of whom were subject to so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” and prolonged secret CIA detention. This course of action is simply unacceptable. An announcement providing details of the President’s plan is expected to be made today.
President Obama’s commitment, just two days after his inauguration, to close Guantanamo and end the military commissions was remarkable for its swiftness and seeming clarity. But the orders left much unclear or unspoken. Under the new proposal, the commissions would resume with minor modifications. According to press reports, statements obtained under “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment” would be inadmissible and hearsay evidence would be allowed unless the military judge finds it unreliable. NACDL President John Wesley Hall said, “The President is in peril of squandering the good will engendered by his earlier commitments. To retreat from those promises is to surrender to the same irrational fear that brought disrepute upon the prior administration.”
Although these changes may be a modest improvement from President Bush’s commissions, they fall far short of American principles of fairness and due process. It has been, and remains, the position of the NACDL, since prior to the election of President Obama, that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 should be repealed and that the United States “charge and prosecute any individual accused of involvement with terrorist activity in the federal criminal justice system, and for those individuals accused of violating the Laws of War as unprivileged belligerents, to charge and prosecute them under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, consistent with the Geneva Conventions.”
“President Obama cannot fix this failed system with a fresh coat of paint,” said Michael Price, NACDL’s National Security Coordinator. “There is simply no constitutional alternative but to ensure that each and every detainee, many of whom we now know to have been tortured, receive the minimum protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.” “NACDL will be vigilant in its efforts to ensure that those requirements are met,” he added.
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.