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of the NACDL, since prior to the election of President Obama, that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 should be repealed and that the United States “charge and prosecute any individual accused of involvement with terrorist activity in the federal criminal justice system, and for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.
A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence: A Trial Practice Handbook for Criminal Defense Attorneys
This Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The Guide contains multiple user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems. A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence is an indispensable tool in preparing a case for trial.
Modern Digital Evidence & Technologies in Criminal Cases
Modern cases need modern defenses, and modern lawyers can't practice with an outdated playbook. This program is a contemporary training that identifies emerging technologies and digital evidence encountered in today's criminal cases and arms you with the tools necessary to combat expert witnesses, prosecutorial overreach, and an uneducated judge and jury. This comprehensive CLE program covers both general aspects of new technologies as well as practical courtroom application and legal challenges to the use of these new technologies.
Top Shelf DUI Defenses: The Law, The Science, The Techniques (2021)
If you are serious about being an effective DUI defense advocate, or if you’re considering adding DUI defenses to your portfolio, you need to know the latest scientific and legal strategies to optimize your success at trial. Learn from the best-of-the-best in the field in this unique CLE Program, updated for 2021.
Defending Modern Drug Cases (2021)
From challenging the arrest and seizure to picking a jury and cross-examining police officers, defense attorneys handling drug cases must be able to construct a defense that will increase the chances of the client getting a positive result for your client.
Effective motion practice, juror selection, and storytelling have never been more important. This seminar will introduce defense counsel to techniques that have been used at recent drug trials to rebut specific claims and overcome the emotion created in today’s criminal legal system.
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.