Washington, DC (Nov. 3, 2017) – Today, shortly before a court proceeding in U.S. District Court before Judge Royce Lamberth challenging a contempt finding against Marine Brig. Gen. John Baker, Chief Defense Counsel for the Military, the government ordered deferment of General John Baker's detention and his immediate release. On November 1, 2017, General Baker had been held in contempt by Military Judge Spath and sentenced to 21 days confinement in his quarters and a $1,000 fine. In today's court proceeding, Judge Lamberth commended the military's decision to release General Baker and agreed to afford the military commission Convening Authority a reasonable opportunity to review the matter further. The Convening Authority has said it will review both General Baker's conviction and his sentence, and General Baker has 20 days to provide his comments. The Court has also asked for General Baker's counsel, Barry J. Pollack, to file a motion if a reasonable period of time passes without the Convening Authority taking further action.
Barry J. Pollack, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) Immediate Past President and a member of the law firm Miller & Chevalier, who entered the case at the behest of NACDL's Lawyers' Assistance Strike Force, said: "General Baker's conviction of contempt and his confinement are unlawful orders that have no factual basis. My hope is the Convening Authority will act promptly to set aside the contempt finding and sentence. If it does not, we will ask Judge Lamberth to issue an order finding the contempt order to be unlawful."
NACDL President Rick Jones stated: "The military commissions are seriously flawed. In the face of repeated instances of attorney-client privilege violations, having the temerity to punish defense lawyers for doing their job is a new low. General Baker should have his conviction vacated immediately."
General Baker was held in contempt after his determination on October 13, 2017, that there was good cause to allow the withdrawal of three civilian members of the defense team in the case of United States v. Nashiri due to concerns that the government compromised attorney-client confidentiality.
United States v. Nashiri is the trial of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, who is the alleged mastermind of the 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. Tuesday, Baker refused to testify and to rescind his order allowing the withdrawal of Mary Spears, Rosa Eliades, and Learned Counsel Richard Kammen. NACDL, which has a long history of supporting defense counsel at the military commissions, has stepped in to provide strike force representation for General Baker. Court papers (available here, here, and here) were filed yesterday, November 2, 2017, in federal court in Washington, D.C., seeking Baker's immediate release from confinement. An initial hearing was held in Judge Lamberth's courtroom late afternoon yesterday.
NACDL has long been concerned about attorney-client privilege at Guantanamo, as reflected, for example, in its 2012 NACDL ethics opinion. Previous NACDL statements on Guantanamo and attorney-client communications can be found here, here, here, and 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.
Alexandra Funk, NACDL Public Affairs & Communications Assistant, (202) 465-7647 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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.