Washington, DC (June 28, 2010) – In a careful review of the pending financial regulation reform legislation, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) has identified dozens of new and troubling federal criminal offenses. These new offenses, if enacted into law, will further explode the federal criminal code, which already contains an estimated 4,450 criminal offenses.
This financial reform legislation, agreed to in conference last Friday, has not been referred to either chamber’s Judiciary Committee—the Committees that have express jurisdiction over the federal criminal law. And, given the plan for passage, no full Judiciary Committee will ever review all the criminal offenses in the bill. Further, this bill allows unelected officials to enact new, broad regulations for the financial sector, many of which will be directly tied to criminal enforcement provisions and thus will be criminally punishable. In addition, and perhaps most troubling, the overwhelming majority of the criminal offenses contained in this bill lack adequate mens rea, or criminal intent, requirements and, consequently, will fail to protect innocent or inadvertent actors from being criminally prosecuted or punished. This legislation is a textbook example embodying the central problems identified by NACDL and The Heritage Foundation in our joint, groundbreaking report released just last month entitled Without Intent: How Congress is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law.
“The problems with this financial reform legislation are neither new nor surprising,” explained NACDL Director of White Collar Crime Policy Shana-Tara Regon, adding that “this bill is simply the latest attack on the fundamental principles of our system of criminal justice – fair notice and due process.” Faced with public pressure to do something to “fix the system,” Regon explained that “sadly, Congress’s default mode is, once again, to respond to a policy challenge by rushing to create new, and defective, federal criminal offenses.”
Resources on HR 4173, the “Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act”
A Windfall for Overcriminalization, A Case for Reform (NACDL one-pager on Dodd-Frank Conference Report [HR 4173])
NACDL on HR 4173 - Recommendations (recommendations for reforming Dodd-Frank Conference Report [HR 4173])
Criminal Provisions in HR 4173 (list of the criminal provisions in Dodd-Frank Conference Report [HR 4173])
Dodd-Frank Conference Report (final version of the bill agreed to by the Conference Committee)
HR 4173eas (version of bill serving as base-text for the Conference Committee)
For the above materials and more information, visit www.nacdl.org/whitecollar.
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.