Washington, DC (October 31, 2000) -- The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is recommending that California voters support California's Proposition 36, which mandates treatment, rather than the threat or reality of prison, for persons charged the first or second time with non-violent drug possession.
"Of all the non-prescription drugs available to us, two stand out as having caused the most death and destruction in society," said Edward Mallett, a Houston criminal defense lawyer who serves as president of NACDL. "Those are alcohol and nicotine."
"And we recognize, with those substances, that education and treatment are better alternatives than locking people up for simply using them. As defense lawyers, we'll gladly give up the opportunity to represent people charged with possessing other drugs if the government stops treating them like criminals," said Mallett.
Proposition 36 is modeled after an Arizona initiative, already in place and substantially successful, which requires treatment, rather than jail or prison, for simple possession of illegal substances.
Natman Schaye, a Tucson criminal defense lawyer, hails the Arizona law as improving lives and saving money. "We're finding that, instead of learning in prison how to be real criminals, most drug users are learning to lead productive lives and beat their drug habits," he said. "And treatment costs so much less than imprisonment."
According to the online information supplied by the California Secretary of State's office (vote2000.ss.ca.gov/VoterGuide), state and local government would save between $140 million and $190 million each year, plus potentially another $450 million to $550 million from not having to build a new prison, if voters pass Proposition 36. A year of prison costs taxpayers $25,000; a year of treatment costs only $4,000.
Mallett cites recent reports, in addition to those describing the Arizona success, as reasons for Californians to support Proposition 36. "Switzerland has now followed the Netherlands in decriminalizing marijuana. The Netherlands, according to a recent survey, has experienced a decrease in use of marijuana among youth 10-18 years old, and has a usage rate in that age group lower than that of the U.S."
"Every step toward treating drug addiction as a medical issue, instead of as a criminal issue, seems to yield positive results," said Mallett. "NACDL hopes the voters of California will take a cue from the Arizona experience and further lead the way to a more sound and rational drug policy in America."
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.