News Release

Call for moratorium on federal executions

Fairness shouldn''t take backseat to expediency 

Washington, DC (December 4, 2000) -- Joining a growing movement of former government officials, civil rights and human rights leaders, clergy, and law professors, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers President Edward Mallett has asked President Bill Clinton to order a moratorium on the death penalty at the federal level, and to commute the death sentence of Juan Garza, scheduled to become the first federal execution in almost 40 years on December 12.

In addition, NACDL has coordinated an effort among its more than 80 state and local affiliates across the nation similarly to call upon President Clinton to order such a moratorium.

"There is no execution so urgent that it cannot await a determination that our process is fair," said Mallett, a Houston criminal defense lawyer, in the letter to Clinton. "There is no execution that can be taken back in the event of a determination that it is not."

Mallett specifically cited in his letter the racial inequities in the death penalty system as a reason for the moratorium. He also pointed out that the lack of respect for human life inherent in the death penalty undermines the U.S. position in the Middle East peace process.

The moratorium movement is spearheaded by Citizens for a Moratorium on Federal Executions, a group of prominent Americans, some of whom support the death penalty, who have banded together to call for the halt to executions due to inequities in the federal death penalty process. 

For a copy of Mallett's letter, --click here-- or contact this office.

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NACDL Communications Department

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.