Standing Board Policy on Elections

Approved by the NACDL Board of Directors
New Orleans, Louisiana
February 26, 2000
 

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is a voluntary association of attorneys who defend men and women accused of criminal acts. During the years of its existence, the NACDL has evolved certain principles that govern the manner in which is chooses to elect its leaders. These principles have been derived from a common recognition that it is wise and prudent for a group of professional advocates to foster a spirit of comity and collegiality within its membership by refraining from using their own considerable forensic skills against one another in the election process.

In an effort to give guidance to all prospective candidates for office, the Elections Committee of the NACDL hereby summarizes the principles and policies that govern elections conducted within the NACDL:

  1. No general or organized campaigning by mail, telephone or otherwise, for or against a nominee, either by the nominee or anyone on behalf of a nominee, is permitted. This rule applies to the nominating process as well, except insofar as a prospective nominee seeks nomination pursuant to Article VIII, Section 6(b) of the Bylaws1, in which case the nominee is permitted to seek support from other members, subject to the restrictions that appear in Paragraph 3 of these Principles
  2. Campaigning for office shall be restricted to a single Statement of Qualifications, to be published in the printed ballot or by other means, not to exceed 600 words in length.
  3. The Statement of Qualifications shall be confined to a statement of positive qualifications describing why the candidate or nominee is qualified for the position that is sought. A statement of positive qualifications may include expressions of concern about policies or actions of any part of the organization but may not include personal attacks on other candidates, officers, staff or members.

On May 14, 2007 pursuant to its authority under article VIII, section 7 of the Bylaws2, the Election Committee issued the following statement which shall be applicable to all elections, commencing with the 2007 election:

All candidates for election to the NACDL Board or Offices should be familiar with the NACDL rules concerning the Elections process. These rules are found in Bylaws Article VIII, Section 7and the Standing Policy on Elections approved by the Board on February 26, 2000. Historically, these rules have provided sufficient guidance to candidates and, in view of their judgment and NACDL experience, few issues have arisen that have required consideration by the Elections Committee. Occasionally, however, a candidate may be uncertain about whether a certain action is acceptable under the rules. In those instances, an announced candidate may request an advisory opinion from the Committee.

Requests for advisory opinions must be in writing and submitted by telecopier, courier, or mail to the Committee Chair and each Committee member (as listed in the Handbook), with a copy to the Executive Director. In its discretion the Committee may provide an opinion or may decline to do so. The Committee may seek input from other candidates or NACDL members or staff members. Any opinions will be in writing and distributed to other candidates and made available to all NACDL members.

1 On August 14, 2010, the bylaws provision to which this sentence refers was amended. The provision to which this policy here refers is now located in Article VIII, Section 2(b).
2 On August 14, 2010, the bylaws provision to which this sentence refers was amended. The provision to which this policy here refers is now located in Article VII, Section 6.
3 On August 14, 2010, the bylaws provision to which this sentence refers was amended. The provision to which this policy here refers is now located in Article VII, Section 6.