Washington, DC (June 1, 2011) – Last summer, the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 was signed into law. While the legislation failed to eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine completely, it did reduce that disparity to roughly 18:1. Since enactment, distribution of a gram of crack roughly draws the same sentence as distribution of 18 grams of powder. Currently, though, the sentencing guidelines amendments implementing the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 are not retroactive. U.S. Sentencing Commission staff estimates that 12,040 offenders at most would be eligible for a sentence reduction if the amendment is made retroactive. Justice demands that these offenders too benefit from the change in the law. Today, Jim E. Lavine, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), appeared before the U.S. Sentencing Commission on behalf of NACDL to make exactly that point.
Lavine explained the stark racial injustice that would flow from any decision by the Sentencing Commission not to follow the same, equitable course it has in similar contexts in the past concerning other illegal substances:
“All of the preceding amendments that were made retroactive—dealing with LSD, marijuana, and oxycodone—generally benefitted white defendants. The statistics demonstrate, however, that retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act amendment will generally benefit black defendants. As previously noted, Commission staff estimates that 85.1% of the offenders eligible for retroactive application of the FSA Guideline amendment are African-American. The crack cocaine sentencing scheme is perhaps the most publicized and controversial aspect of the federal sentencing system. The racially disparate impact of the 100:1 ratio is well-known and the public perception that our drug laws are racially discriminatory is well-established. A decision to deny retroactivity would likely undermine public confidence in the Sentencing Commission and the federal criminal justice system as a whole, and cement an understanding that justice is distributed on the basis of skin color. The Commission cannot ignore these negative consequences. Making this amendment retroactive is the only fair and principled course.”
A copy of NACDL President Jim E. Lavine’s testimony on behalf of NACDL is available at http://www.nacdl.org/public.nsf/legislation/Rules&Reg_attachments/$FILE/Lavine06012011.pdf
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.
Jack King, Public Affairs, (202) 872-8600 x228, email@example.com
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.