WASHINGTON, DC (Oct. 28, 2011) – In the past few weeks, U.S. Predator drone aircraft have targeted and killed three U.S. citizens in Yemen. In late September, citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were killed by a missile from a U.S. Predator drone aircraft.
Two weeks ago, a juvenile, Awlaki’s Denver-born son Abdulrahman, 16, was also killed in a missile strike, according to his family. U.S. officials have not publicly acknowledged his death, but , according to media reports, the administration officials have said that they did not know the younger al-Awlaki was in the same group as the intended target.
Media and individuals across the political spectrum are calling for the government to explain the legal reasoning behind the killings. The public needs to know how such decisions are made, and any legal basis justifying them. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) has filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking legal memoranda justifying the targeting of individuals overseas with lethal force and the role the Department of Justice plays in extrajudicial executions.
“These missile strikes look like executions before judgment,” said NACDL President Lisa Wayne of Denver. “The Constitution prohibits depriving any individual of life or liberty without due process of law, and the Supreme Court has prohibited execution of juveniles under any circumstances.
“By what right and through what procedures does the Executive Branch unilaterally impose capital punishment?
“The reputation of the United States is at stake, and the Justice Department needs to answer some questions. What process is due to a U.S. citizen or legal resident before they may be designated for extrajudicial execution by the Executive Branch of our government? What evidence is used to determine guilt? Are mitigating factors taken into account? Is there an advocate to argue against selection? What is the burden of proof? What notice does the targeted individual receive? Is there an appeal process, internally or by the target?”
The FOIA request specifically seeks all memoranda and communications in the possession of the Justice Department that will shed light on any of these questions.
“The American public has a right to know how U.S. citizens are chosen for government execution without a judge, jury or appeal,” Wayne said.
A copy of NACDL’s FOIA request dated October 18, 2011, is 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.
Jack King, Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7628 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.