Washington, DC (Oct. 24, 2017) – Today, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), together with nine additional co-sponsors, introduced the bipartisan USA RIGHTS Act, a bill that significantly reforms warrantless surveillance under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Section 702 surveillance is supposed to target the communications of non-U.S. persons overseas, but often captures purely domestic communications. Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Ted Poe (R-Tex.), and Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.
This legislation goes a long way to bring Section 702 surveillance in line with constitutional protections. The bill would address critical failings in the way the program is currently implemented including ending "about" collection, in which the government was collecting not only the communications of the targets themselves, but also any communications that mentioned the targets. It would also largely close the "back door search" loophole that the government is using to search information collected without a warrant for subsequent use in domestic criminal cases. To address the practice of "reverse targeting," the bill would require the government to get a warrant anytime a significant purpose of targeting a foreign person is to collect the communications of a U.S. person. Finally, it addresses the critical issue of notice for the accused in criminal cases by defining "derived from" 702 surveillance as information that would have developed but for FISA evidence. The legislation would sunset in 4 years.
"The government should not be in the business of collecting and storing massive amounts of electronic communications. The government has shown repeatedly that it cannot be trusted to access that data with restraint and in accordance with fundamental constitutional protections. Clear restrictions must be legislated by Congress, or this program should be allowed to expire," said National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) President Rick Jones. "The USA RIGHTS Act effectively addresses many of the ways in which the government was using Section 702 surveillance to skirt Fourth Amendment protections."
With additional reforms to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, more restrictions on the use of information collected on U.S. citizens or people present in the United States, and additional transparency measures, the USA RIGHTS Act addresses many of the concerns that NACDL has with the way in which Section 702 has been operating. It stands in stark contrast to Senator Burr’s proposed legislation, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017, which not only does not significantly reform the program, but may be interpreted as an expansion of the ability to use Section 702 intelligence in domestic criminal cases. Short of the significant reforms enumerated in the USA RIGHTS Act, Congress should allow the authority to sunset at the end of this year.
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.
Alexandra Funk, NACDL Public Affairs & Communications Assistant, (202) 465-7647 or email@example.com
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.