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Showing 1 - 15 of 162 results

    • Brief

    Oregon v. Aranda

    Brief of the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amici Curiae in Support of Defendant-Respondent.


    Argument: If OEC 609 is construed to permit all felony convictions without weighing the risk of unfair prejudice, the rule violates federal due process. The indiscriminate admission of even unfairly prejudicial convictions runs counter to common law traditions that require “fundamental fairness” and generally bar the use of propensity evidence.

    Barring the use of OEC 403 prior to admitting felony convictions also burdens the exercise of Oregon defendants’ constitutional trial rights. First, it forces defendants to choose between the right to the right to testify and an impartial jury. Relatedly, the per se admission of prior felony convictions against defendants tends to produce a chilling effect on the right to testify because if they take the stand, they will be unfairly prejudiced. The Supreme Court has made clear, “[t]he right to testify on one’s own behalf at a criminal trial . . . is one of the rights that ‘are essential to due process of law in a fair adversary process.’” Rock v. Arkansas, 483 US 44, 51, 107 S Ct 2704, 97 L Ed 2d 37 (1987) (quoting Faretta v. California, 422 US 806, 817, n 15, 95 S Ct 2525, 45 L Ed 2d 562 (1975)). Second, the threat of per se prior conviction impeachment also impermissibly burdens the right to trial because it both distorts the strength of the government’s case and adds to the coercive nature of the plea-bargaining system of criminal adjudication.

    • Brief

    Lee v. Maryland

    Amicus Curiae Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Appellee Adnan Syed, by Written Consent


    Argument: NACDL, with authors from law firm Paul, Weiss, filed an amicus brief in the Appellate Court of Maryland in Young Lee, as Victim’s Representative v. State of Maryland. Adnan Syed, whose criminal case gained notoriety after being chronicled in the podcast Serial, was recently released from prison after the court vacated his conviction upon the prosecution’s recommendation. Mr. Syed had been serving a life sentence for the 1999 murder of his high school classmate Hae Min Lee. The prosecution cited flaws in the conviction, including unreliable cell phone tower data and possible failure to disclose key exculpatory evidence and two new potential suspects in their motion to vacate Syed’s conviction. Even though they were in attendance, the victim’s family has appealed the vacatur for lack of sufficient notice and opportunity to participate. Our amicus brief argues that, while Maryland law expressly grants a victim the right to receive notice of and attend vacatur proceedings, it does not provide a victim the right to be heard at the proceeding. The Maryland General Assembly made a choice to treat vacatur proceedings differently than other proceedings, such as sentencing, where a victim’s right to be heard is expressly granted. Even if Maryland did provide victims the right to be heard at a vacatur hearing, which it does not, that would not mean that victims have the additional right to participate in such hearings by challenging the evidence, as the victim’s family argues. Giving victims the right to challenge evidence or dispute substantive rulings would effectively allow them to usurp the role of prosecutors and violate due process, we argue.

    • Brief

    Smith v. Maryland

    Amici Curiae Brief of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys Association, and the Innocence Network in Support of Appellant.


    Argument: In this extraordinary case, the State conceded that it engaged in “intentional, willful, and/or reckless misconduct” to secure the conviction of Jonathan Smith when it suppressed exculpatory evidence, concealed an agreement involving a key witness who closely assisted in the State’s investigation, and repeatedly lied about this misconduct. On remand from this Court, the Attorney General agreed that this egregious and willful misconduct warranted dismissing the charges against Mr. Smith. Giving little if any weight to these concessions, the Court of Special Appeals applied an impossibly high constitutional bar for due process dismissals that is contrary to this Court’s prior opinion in this matter and to standards in other jurisdictions whose rulings the court purported to survey. Rather than sanctioning the State for its misconduct, the ruling allowed the State to retry Mr. Smith as if its misconduct never occurred and gravely minimized the resulting prejudice to Mr. Smith on any retrial. This is not a meaningful sanction to deter prosecutions, such as this one, that are pervaded from their inception by admittedly egregious and willful prosecutorial misconduct. This Court should grant certiorari to address this issue of first impression, and to devise a standard that adequately deters future prosecutorial misconduct.

    • Brief

    Jones v. Hendrix

    Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Arkansas Civil Liberties Foundation as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioner.


    Argument: Courts of appeals that have rejected petitioner's view of Section 2255(e) have held that relief under Section 2241 is available only if an incarcerated individual shows that Section 2255's remedy "was" inadequate or ineffective at the time of the individual's "first § 2255 motion." Pet. App. 7a (emphasis [*8] added); see also McCarthan v. Dir. of Goodwill Indus.-Suncoast, Inc., 851 F.3d 1076, 1081 (11th Cir. 2017) ("The petitioner bears the burden of establishing that the remedy by motion was 'inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of his detention.'") (emphasis added) (internal citation omitted); Prost v. Anderson, 636 F.3d 578, 594 (10th Cir. 2011) (similar). In other words, these courts have focused on the adequacy or efficacy of the remedy under Section 2255 in the past. This reasoning departs from the plain text of that statute. The relevant text of Section 2255(e) focuses on the present. It allows federal prisoners to seek habeas relief under Section 2241 when the remedy provided by Section 2255 " is inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of [their] detention." 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e) (emphasis added). Put another way, this saving clause asks whether Section 2255's remedy is currently inadequate or ineffective, not whether it was inadequate or ineffective.