Washington, DC (September 25, 2013) – The Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, today ruled in a 4-3 decision that “under Article 24 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights, an indigent defendant is entitled to state-furnished counsel at an initial hearing before a District Court Commissioner.” This means that every person brought before a bail commissioner throughout the State of Maryland is entitled to have a lawyer argue for his or her release before bail is set, regardless of the individual’s ability to pay for counsel. At least a dozen states and the District of Columbia have now explicitly recognized this right. The case is DeWolfe v. Richmond, No. 34. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the plaintiffs.
NACDL President Jerry J. Cox praised the decision of the Maryland Court of Appeals, “Fifty years after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, Maryland has recognized another obvious truth – that defendants require counsel to deal with pre-trial issues such as bail just as much as they need counsel to deal with the trial itself.”
NACDL strongly advocates for the right to counsel throughout the nation at initial appearance before a judicial officer at which liberty is at stake or at which a plea of guilty to any criminal charge may be entered. See Board Resolution Urging Recognition of Right to Counsel at Initial Appearance. The majority in today’s decision recognized a number of the reasons why the vindication of this right is so critical:
“As numerous briefs to this Court pointed out, the failure of a Commissioner to consider all the facts relevant to a bail determination can have devastating effects on the arrested individuals. Not only do the arrested individuals face health and safety risks posed by prison stays, but the arrested individuals may be functionally illiterate and unable to read materials related to the charges. Additionally, they may be employed in low wage jobs which could be easily lost because of incarceration. Moreover, studies show that the bail amounts are often improperly affected by race.” (at 5)
NACDL was joined by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Maryland, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. The brief was written by Christina M. Gattuso, of the Washington, D.C. office of Kilpatrick Townsend and Stockton LLP, and Gia L. Cincone of Kilpatrick’s San Francisco office. A copy of the brief may be downloaded from NACDL’s website: Download brief.
A link to today’s Maryland Court of Appeals decision in DeWolfe v. Richmond is available here.
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.
Please contact Ivan J. Dominguez, Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or email@example.com 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.