Washington, DC (Dec. 17, 2014) – President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of eight federal prisoners, and pardoned 12 others on Wednesday. These mark the first commutations the President has granted since the U.S. Department of Justice announced its clemency initiative in April of 2014.
"We commend President Obama for keeping his promise to provide relief for federal prisoners serving excessively long sentences; terms of imprisonment they would not receive if sentenced today," said Cynthia W. Roseberry, project manager for Clemency Project 2014. "Federal sentencing laws and policies have changed, and the country has changed, but thousands of federal prisoners remain incarcerated under antiquated laws and ways of thinking about crime. We urge the President to commute more of the unjust sentences faced by federal prisoners."
Clemency Project 2014 is a working group composed of lawyers and advocates including the Federal Defenders, the American Civil Liberties Union, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the American Bar Association, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, as well as individuals active within those organizations. It launched in January, after Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole asked the legal profession to provide pro bono assistance to federal prisoners who would likely have received a shorter sentence if they had been sentenced today.
According to the criteria released by the Justice Department, prisoners must be:
- currently serving a federal sentence in prison and, by operation of law, likely would have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of the same offense(s) today;
- have a non-violent history with no significant ties to organized crime, gangs or cartels;
- have served at least 10 years;
- have no significant prior convictions;
- have demonstrated good conduct in prison; and
- have no history of violence prior to or during their current term of imprisonment.
Clemency Project 2014 is recruiting and training attorneys on an ongoing, on demand basis on how to screen for prisoners who meet the criteria listed above and assist them in preparing commutation petitions. Several hundred lawyers have volunteered to assist prisoners and are reviewing more than 26,000 requests from prisoners who have asked Clemency Project 2014 for assistance.
For more information and to volunteer for Clemency Project 2014, please visit www.clemencyproject2014.org.
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.
Please direct all media inquiries to 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.