Washington, DC (Dec. 27, 2017) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) praise New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for commuting the sentences of two prisoners today. As detailed in an official announcement released this afternoon, Governor Cuomo also pardoned 59 individuals today.
The NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project, which is supported by the Foundation for Criminal Justice (FCJ), was announced in August of this year to recruit, train, and provide resource support to pro bono attorneys who will assist state prisoners to submit petitions to have their sentences commuted.
New York is the first state to participate in the program. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the partnership with the NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project this past summer which will help prisoners seeking clemency pursuant to the Governor's clemency initiative. The NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project has trained approximately 116 New York lawyers and assigned 141 of the cases forwarded to it by the state’s Executive Clemency Bureau.
"As the Executive Director of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and the President of NACDL, I am gratified to see Governor Cuomo fulfilling his pledge to commute the sentences of deserving candidates seeking clemency," said NACDL President Rick Jones. "While this is an especially auspicious time of year for this news to be delivered to these grantees, their families and communities, we encourage the Governor to continue this process on an ongoing basis, making regularized use of his clemency power to do justice in all appropriate cases."
"Clemency is often the last hope for so many prisoners who have received an unjust sentence. We are proud to be a part of an effort that means so much to prisoners and their families," said FAMM President Kevin Ring.
"We applaud Governor Cuomo for today's grants and for partnering with the NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project to help ensure that all interested and eligible New York prisoners are provided with trained and resourced pro bono counsel to prepare and submit petitions to have their sentences commuted," said NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer. "Taking a careful second look at these individuals, their progress, and their sentences is good for justice and fairness, and it’s good for all of the people of New York. The project has only just begun submitting petitions, and so we look forward to an ever-increasing number of commutations by the Governor."
Details concerning the clemency eligibility criteria established by Gov. Cuomo as well as information on how to apply for clemency are available at www.ny.gov/services/apply-clemency.
The NACDL/FAMM Clemency Project brings NACDL's and FAMM's collective experience as partners of the federal-level Clemency Project 2014 to state-level clemency efforts. The Project recruits lawyers and trains them to identify eligible prisoners based on criteria provided by participating state executives. Project staff works with state agencies to devise the most efficient way to connect applicants to volunteers, provide essential applicant information, and submit well-crafted petitions. The Project has a state-based focus that will be responding to the criteria articulated by each governor or state clemency authority, and relying heavily upon local attorneys, law firms, and law clinics.
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.
Ivan J. Dominguez, Director of Public Affairs & Communications, NACDL, 202-465-7662, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rabiah Alicia Burks, Director of Communications, FAMM, 202-999-4258, 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.