Washington, DC (May 24, 2016) – Yesterday, in its 7 to 1 judgment in Foster v. Chatman (14-8349), the U.S. Supreme Court found that prosecutors violated the Constitution in the 1987 capital case against Timothy T. Foster, an African-American man accused of killing a white woman, when they struck every prospective black juror from the pool. The 1986 Supreme Court case of Batson v. Kentucky (84-6263) held that "peremptory strikes," or strikes of jury pool members without an articulated reason, are unconstitutional if race is the motive. In Foster, documents came to light decades after the trial showing that prosecutors in Mr. Foster's case had kept specific notes identifying and ranking prospective black jurors.
"What the prosecutor's office did in Mr. Foster's case rightly shocks the conscience for its blatant disregard of core constitutional protections that must be afforded to all who are accused of a crime in this country," said National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) President E.G. "Gerry" Morris. "For nearly 30 years, Mr. Foster has served on Georgia's death row, sent there by an illegally constituted jury. It's not often that prosecutors create, and defense counsel is able to secure, demonstrable evidence of Batson violations, as here. This case serves as a powerful reminder of just one of the many ways in which the rights of the accused, and the integrity of the criminal process, can be compromised. Taken together with scores of exonerations, not to mention ghoulish and all-too-frequently grotesque execution protocols with secretly obtained lethal concoctions, it is further proof of the unacceptability of capital punishment in an advanced and civilized criminal justice system. The abolition of the death penalty is long overdue, as is abundantly clear by the continuing collapse of the case for it."
Eighteen states, plus the District of Columbia, have abolished capital punishment, according to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC). Since 1976, approximately 1,436 people have been executed in the United States. Since 1973, the DPIC reports that "more than 150 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence." And in 2015, as in each of the last nearly ten years, the United States was in the top five countries of the world with the most confirmed executions, a list which often includes nations such as China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
NACDL has long and steadfastly called for the abolition of the death penalty in the United States. To learn more about NACDL's work to abolish the death penalty, please visit http://www.nacdl.org/criminal-defense/death-penalty/.
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.
Ivan J. Dominguez, NACDL Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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.