Washington, DC (June 1, 2011) – Last summer, the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 was signed into law. While the legislation failed to eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine completely, it did reduce that disparity to roughly 18:1. Since enactment, distribution of a gram of crack roughly draws the same sentence as distribution of 18 grams of powder. Currently, though, the sentencing guidelines amendments implementing the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 are not retroactive. U.S. Sentencing Commission staff estimates that 12,040 offenders at most would be eligible for a sentence reduction if the amendment is made retroactive. Justice demands that these offenders too benefit from the change in the law. Today, Jim E. Lavine, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), appeared before the U.S. Sentencing Commission on behalf of NACDL to make exactly that point.
Lavine explained the stark racial injustice that would flow from any decision by the Sentencing Commission not to follow the same, equitable course it has in similar contexts in the past concerning other illegal substances:
“All of the preceding amendments that were made retroactive—dealing with LSD, marijuana, and oxycodone—generally benefitted white defendants. The statistics demonstrate, however, that retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act amendment will generally benefit black defendants. As previously noted, Commission staff estimates that 85.1% of the offenders eligible for retroactive application of the FSA Guideline amendment are African-American. The crack cocaine sentencing scheme is perhaps the most publicized and controversial aspect of the federal sentencing system. The racially disparate impact of the 100:1 ratio is well-known and the public perception that our drug laws are racially discriminatory is well-established. A decision to deny retroactivity would likely undermine public confidence in the Sentencing Commission and the federal criminal justice system as a whole, and cement an understanding that justice is distributed on the basis of skin color. The Commission cannot ignore these negative consequences. Making this amendment retroactive is the only fair and principled course.”
A copy of NACDL President Jim E. Lavine’s testimony on behalf of NACDL is available at http://www.nacdl.org/public.nsf/legislation/Rules&Reg_attachments/$FILE/Lavine06012011.pdf
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.
Jack King, Public Affairs, (202) 872-8600 x228, email@example.com
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.