Washington, DC (Oct. 5, 2017) -- Today Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and John Conyers (D-Mich.), the chair and ranking member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.), the chair and ranking member of the Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee, presented a bipartisan discussion draft of the "USA Liberty Act" — a bill that would reauthorize and reform Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Section 702 allows the government to collect the content of communications of foreigners outside of the United States without a warrant, including their communications with US citizens. The language comes as Congress prepares to debate the future of these surveillance authorities which are scheduled to sunset at the end of this year. NACDL has long expressed concern about the way that the program has been implemented.
"The government has never answered questions about how much US citizens' information, collected without a warrant, is stored or searched by law enforcement," said NACDL president Rick Jones. "Notice in criminal cases using Section 702 information has been limited and infrequent. While we applaud this bipartisan effort to reform this expansive surveillance program, it does not go nearly far enough to cure the constitutional issues raised by its implementation. Without significant reform to bring the program in line with the Constitution, Congress should allow this authority to expire."
The draft legislation under consideration would reauthorize the law for six years. It would also codify the end of the practice referred to as "about" collection, whereby the government was collecting even purely domestic communications merely because they mention a target of Section 702 collection. In addition, the draft legislation would make a marginal fix to the backdoor search loophole that allows the government to search the information collected under Section 702 for domestic investigations.
However, the backdoor loophole "fix" includes such broad exceptions as to render the reform mostly meaningless. In addition, the bill does nothing to strengthen notice requirements to ensure that the accused in criminal cases knows the true source of the evidence being used against them. It would also increase the maximum sentence for knowingly removing classified documents from one year to five, and create a new crime of negligently removing classified documents.
NACDL's extensive comments concerning Section 702 submitted to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), dated April 11, 2014, are 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.
Ivan J. Dominguez, NACDL Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or firstname.lastname@example.org 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.