'Highest Traditions of Jurisprudence'
Statement of NACDL President Gerald B. Lefcourt
Washington, DC (June 25, 1998) -- The Supreme Court of the United States today handed down its most important decision of the term, Swidler & Berlin v. United States, No. 97-1192, reaffirming the sanctity of the attorney-client privilege. Clients consult attorneys for a variety of reasons, many of which are not admissions of crime, but which the client nonetheless would not wish divulged, even after death. The attorney-client privilege was already well-established in Elizabethan England, and as Chief Justice Rehnquist notes in his opinion, the posthumous attorney-client privilege has been recognized in this country for well over a century. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers hails today's decision as a victory for all Americans. NACDL's friend-of-the-court brief was authored by Mark I. Levy, Howrey & Simon, Washington, D.C., and was joined by the American Corporate Counsel Association and the National Hospice Organization.
Praising today's decision, NACDL President Gerald B. Lefcourt, New York City, released the following statement:
"Kudos to a Supreme Court which, in the highest traditions of jurisprudence, is willing to clamp down on an out-of-control Independent Counsel bent on compromising time-honored legal principles to accommodate an uncompromising zeal to snare a President of the United States. Years from now, we'll look back upon our system of justice in America and herald the wisdom of our highest court in upholding one of the most precious rights guaranteed by our Constitution -- the right to counsel and the attendant need for respecting the confidentiality of attorney-client discussions.
"Many citizens, particularly the elderly and the terminally ill, would be reluctant to consult freely with a lawyer if they knew that their confidences could be readily violated after they die. That would render the attorney-client privilege a cruel farce, and imperil the very basis of our adversary system in America, which is the ability to freely consult counsel and obtain informed advice.
"The majority, led by the Chief Justice, wisely refused to bend one of the oldest common-law privileges to satisfy the rush to judgment of an overzealous prosecutor. The rights and privileges of all Americans should not be ripped asunder even by an investigation of the President of the United States. Overzealousness in the prosecution of any person is a vice, and the Court has judiciously ruled against it."
[Click Here] for the text of the Supreme Court's decision.
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.
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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.
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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.