Washington, DC (September 23, 2003) -- The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers welcomes today's decision by the federal courts' policy-making body to seek repeal of recent restrictions on judicial sentencing discretion. The Feeney Amendment, which was enacted April 30, 2003, as an amendment to a popular child protection bill, calls for restrictions on the authority of federal judges to impose sentences outside the narrow range specified by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Since 1987, federal sentencing discretion has been limited by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which prescribe sentencing ranges based primarily on the type of offense and the defendant's criminal history.
E.E. "Bo" Edwards, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, today issued the following statement in response to the announcement of the Judicial Conference to seek repeal of certain provisions of the PROTECT Act:
"The Feeney Amendment represents an unwarranted attack on the independence of the federal judiciary. It's also bad sentencing policy. No sentencing system can predict the full range of offense and offender characteristics relevant to sentencing. Without judicial discretion to tailor the punishment based on unforeseen circumstances, our criminal justice system metes out one-size-fits-all sentences that are frequently too harsh. Congress should let judges be judges."
A news release issued by the Judicial Conference notes the JUDGES Act, which is pending in both the House and Senate as H.R. 2213 and S. 1086, respectively, would repeal many of the provisions of the PROTECT Act that limit judicial discretion.
To read the Judicial Conference news release, visit http://www.uscourts.gov/Press_Releases/jc903.pdf.
For more information on the PROTECT Act and JUDGES Act, visit http://www.nacdl.org/departures.
Edwards is a criminal defense lawyer in Nashville. He can be reached at (615) 356-5137.
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.