News Release ~ 02/18/2000

Sears and Chicago Dead Wrong About Benetton

Washington, D.C. (February 18, 2000) -- The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) was pleased to assist the Benetton Group with the project, “We, On Death Row.” We believe it presents an important -- and often overlooked -- portrait of the human faces on death row.

According to published reports in today’s Chicago Sun-Times, Sears has bowed to political pressure from Chicago aldermen who threatened to withdraw a $13 million city redevelopment grant to Sears if Sears did not cancel its Benetton contract. “We are outraged that Sears, Roebuck and Co. would knuckle under to this kind of irresponsible political pressure,” said William B. Moffitt, NACDL president.

“Even the Governor of Illinois has determined that there is a need for more dialogue and consideration in this country about the justification and need for capital punishment. Benetton’s "We, On Death Row" helps further this dialogue. It is appalling that Chicago city officials would threaten to use taxpayer money to silence and censure this effort,” Moffitt said. 

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 approximately 10,000 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 justice system.

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