Washington, DC (May 24, 2016) – Yesterday, in its 7 to 1 judgment in Foster v. Chatman (14-8349), the U.S. Supreme Court found that prosecutors violated the Constitution in the 1987 capital case against Timothy T. Foster, an African-American man accused of killing a white woman, when they struck every prospective black juror from the pool. The 1986 Supreme Court case of Batson v. Kentucky (84-6263) held that "peremptory strikes," or strikes of jury pool members without an articulated reason, are unconstitutional if race is the motive. In Foster, documents came to light decades after the trial showing that prosecutors in Mr. Foster's case had kept specific notes identifying and ranking prospective black jurors.
"What the prosecutor's office did in Mr. Foster's case rightly shocks the conscience for its blatant disregard of core constitutional protections that must be afforded to all who are accused of a crime in this country," said National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) President E.G. "Gerry" Morris. "For nearly 30 years, Mr. Foster has served on Georgia's death row, sent there by an illegally constituted jury. It's not often that prosecutors create, and defense counsel is able to secure, demonstrable evidence of Batson violations, as here. This case serves as a powerful reminder of just one of the many ways in which the rights of the accused, and the integrity of the criminal process, can be compromised. Taken together with scores of exonerations, not to mention ghoulish and all-too-frequently grotesque execution protocols with secretly obtained lethal concoctions, it is further proof of the unacceptability of capital punishment in an advanced and civilized criminal justice system. The abolition of the death penalty is long overdue, as is abundantly clear by the continuing collapse of the case for it."
Eighteen states, plus the District of Columbia, have abolished capital punishment, according to the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC). Since 1976, approximately 1,436 people have been executed in the United States. Since 1973, the DPIC reports that "more than 150 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence." And in 2015, as in each of the last nearly ten years, the United States was in the top five countries of the world with the most confirmed executions, a list which often includes nations such as China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.
NACDL has long and steadfastly called for the abolition of the death penalty in the United States. To learn more about NACDL's work to abolish the death penalty, please visit http://www.nacdl.org/criminal-defense/death-penalty/.
A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence: A Trial Practice Handbook for Criminal Defense Attorneys
This Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The Guide contains multiple user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems. A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence is an indispensable tool in preparing a case for trial.
Modern Digital Evidence & Technologies in Criminal Cases
Modern cases need modern defenses, and modern lawyers can't practice with an outdated playbook. This program is a contemporary training that identifies emerging technologies and digital evidence encountered in today's criminal cases and arms you with the tools necessary to combat expert witnesses, prosecutorial overreach, and an uneducated judge and jury. This comprehensive CLE program covers both general aspects of new technologies as well as practical courtroom application and legal challenges to the use of these new technologies.
Top Shelf DUI Defenses: The Law, The Science, The Techniques (2021)
If you are serious about being an effective DUI defense advocate, or if you’re considering adding DUI defenses to your portfolio, you need to know the latest scientific and legal strategies to optimize your success at trial. Learn from the best-of-the-best in the field in this unique CLE Program, updated for 2021.
Defending Modern Drug Cases (2021)
From challenging the arrest and seizure to picking a jury and cross-examining police officers, defense attorneys handling drug cases must be able to construct a defense that will increase the chances of the client getting a positive result for your client.
Effective motion practice, juror selection, and storytelling have never been more important. This seminar will introduce defense counsel to techniques that have been used at recent drug trials to rebut specific claims and overcome the emotion created in today’s criminal legal system.
Ivan J. Dominguez, NACDL Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or email@example.com for more information.
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.