Washington, DC (October 25, 1996) -- "Judge Mastch's bold decision requiring separate trials for Oklahoma City bombing defendants Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols is living proof of the importance of an independent judiciary in preserving fundamental rights for the accused in America today.
"At a time when Congress and the presidential contenders appear willing to do or say anything to seem 'tough on crime,' Judge Matsch's ruling should be commended by all Americans who believe in the United States Constitution. The Constitution says both of these men are innocent until proven guilty, and each of them is to be judged separately and fairly. That way all, including the victims and survivors of the bombing, can be more certain of the ultimate outcome."
Clarke explained that the government's refusal to redact Nichols' statements to the FBI made Matsch's decision to grant the defendants separate trials the only fair and just solution to the government's obstinance. "Judge Matsch found there would be an unacceptable risk that the jurors would use Nichols' out-of-court statements against McVeigh, which no jury instruction could cure," Clarke explained. "You can't 'unring' the bell once the jury's heard it.
"In 1968, the Supreme Court decided in Bruton v. United States that a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to confront and cross-examine witnesses against him is violated if the jury gets to hear his codefendant's confession implicating him, and the codefendant does not testify. Nichols' statements to the FBI present a classic Bruton situation. It would be grossly unfair to simply instruct the jury that they should only consider Nichols' statements against Nichols and not McVeigh. In a Bruton situation, like this one, that just does not work."
Judy Clarke is Executive Director of Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington and Idaho, the federal public defenders for the Northwest United States.
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.