August 2021

August 2021 Cover

How can the defense attack the testimony of a government witness (informer)?


Articles in this Issue

  1. Affiliate News

    What events are NACDL affiliates hosting this month? Find out here.

  2. Book Review: Shortlisted by Renee Knake Jefferson and Hannah Brenner Johnson

    This month Susan Elizabeth Reese reviews Shortlisted: Women in the Shadows of the Supreme Court by Renee Knake Jefferson and Hannah Brenner Johnson.

  3. Book Review: Smoke but No Fire by Jessica S. Henry

    This month Jennifer Sellitti reviews Smoke but No Fire: Convicting the Innocent of Crimes That Never Happened by Jessica S. Henry.

  4. Book Review: Trying Times by Terry Gilbert with Carlo Wolff

    This month Elizabeth Kelley reviews Trying Times: A Lawyer’s 50-Year Struggle Fighting for Rights in a World of Wrongs by Terry Gilbert with Carlo Wolff.

  5. From the President: The Dark Side of Bedford Falls …

    While the United States remains deeply divided over many issues, a broad consensus is emerging that the country must face the profound injustices – particularly racial and socioeconomic injustice – in the criminal legal system.

  6. Getting Scholarship Into Court Project

    The “Getting Scholarship Into Court Project” brings helpful law review articles and other writings to the attention of criminal defense attorneys. The project’s purpose is to identify scholarship that will be especially useful to courts and practitioners. Summarized on this page are articles the project’s advisory board recommends that practicing lawyers take the time to read. To recommend articles for this column, contact Professor Jenny Carroll (

  7. Practice Points: ABA Formal Opinion 498: Timely Guidance for Virtual Practice

    The practice of criminal defense law became “virtual” because of COVID-19. ABA Formal Opinion 498 addresses how an attorney’s professional obligations are affected by working remotely.

  8. Sleep Driving, Automatism, and Ambien®

    For cases with the right facts, Ambien® automatism is a legitimate defense to DUI charges. A person who drives after taking Ambien® may be driving in a state of automatism, which means the vehicle operation is an involuntary act. People should not be held liable for conduct that is not the result of a voluntary choice.

  9. The Way to Attack a Government Witness (Informer)

    Informers are government witnesses, and their testimony is untrustworthy due to their self-interested motives. Though it is common for pattern jury instruction to include some note of caution about informers’ testimony, no instruction sufficiently alerts the jury to the incentives informers are given to lie. How can counsel fight against cooperation agreement provisions that prejudice the defendant? 

  10. Understanding Bitcoin in Criminal Defense Cases

    What are bitcoins? Why do they have value? Where are criminal defense attorneys likely to see bitcoins in their cases?

  11. What to Expect in Paycheck Protection Program Fraud Prosecutions

    The CARES Act included the creation of the Paycheck Protection Program for forgivable loans to small businesses. The basis for prosecutions will be the certifications in the PPP applications. Sarah Wirskye outlines steps borrowers can take that will help them prove that the certifications are accurate.