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Cruz v. Arizona
Brief of National Association Of Criminal Defense Lawyers, American Civil Liberties Union, and American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioner.
Argument: Amici submit this brief in support of petitioner's argument that Arizona's refusal to apply federal law--not merely in a single postconviction proceeding, but at every point throughout a criminal defendant's case--is not immune from this Court's review. Here, the Arizona courts have denied petitioner's Due Process claim under Simmons for more than a decade and a half, first on the grounds that Simmons did not apply to Arizona's sentencing scheme, and then, after this Court made clear that it does apply, on the ground that he should have raised it previously because Simmons applied all along. The only thing consistent about the Arizona Supreme Court's treatment of petitioner's Simmons claim is that petitioner loses either way. Under these circumstances, the Arizona Supreme Court's invocation of a procedural rule to bar petitioner's Simmons claim is not "independent and adequate," and does not bar this Court's review.
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Concerning Capital Defense Practice During the Pandemic
NACDL encourages counsel not to abdicate their responsibility to provide effective representation to their clients and to continue to make a full record of work that cannot be achieved during the pandemic. NACDL supports its members and others who adhere to fundamental capital practice standards during this pandemic and refuse to undertake substandard in-person work.
Akbar v. United States
Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioner (on Petition for Writ of Certiorari).
Argument: The Court should overrule Loving v. United States, which is no longer good law in light of Ring v. Arizona. Rules for Courts-Martial 1004 violates constitutional separation-of-powers principles. Only Congress may define the elements of a criminal offense. The foregoing separation-of-powers principles apply equally in the military justice system.