Washington, DC (Oct. 1, 2015) – This morning, in action unprecedented in recent decades, a broadly bipartisan group of U.S. Senators announced the introduction of the "Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act," a bill that appears to include certain provisions aimed at reversing America's overly harsh, overburdened and ineffective criminal justice system. That said, while the legislation eliminates certain mandatory minimum sentences in the federal criminal law, it unfortunately imposes and increases others.
In a nation in which more than 70 million people have some form of a criminal record, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) has been a leader in the effort address the debilitating scourge of the collateral consequences of arrest or conviction. And so NACDL welcomes those provisions that are aimed at ensuring that persons are not permanently disadvantaged by incomplete and inaccurate criminal records or youthful mistakes. In addition, the bill would limit the unacceptable practice of solitary confinement for juveniles in federal custody.
"It would appear that a number of the provisions in this bill represent an important move in the right direction," said NACDL President E.G. "Gerry" Morris. "The sentencing provisions that apply retroactively will have an immediate impact on persons serving unduly long sentences and their families, though we regret that the bill does not eliminate or significantly reduce all mandatory minimums for more offenses. NACDL's long-standing and well-supported position is that mandatory minimums are bad policy for all crimes. We look forward to carefully studying all of the provisions of this newly-introduced legislation."
NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer added that "NACDL commends the negotiators and their staff for their dedication and commitment to the difficult process of compromise. With draconian sentencing laws and some 5,000 crimes in the federal criminal code and up to 300,000 in the federal regulations, even a modest beginning to the reversal of the overcriminalization and overincarceration of America is a most welcome development. It is my every hope that the steps taken today inspire further reform, not just on the federal level, but in state legislatures across the nation."
A link to a section by section summary of the proposed Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act released by the co-sponsors and a video of the press conference announcing its introduction are available on the Senate Judiciary Committee's website 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.
Ivan J. Dominguez, NACDL 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.