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Statement to Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement on Accountability and Reform (June 2020)
As a criminal defense organization, we do not profess to possess expertise in policing practices insofar as those practices do not directly intersect with the criminal justice system. But many police practices do have a direct impact on the treatment of accused persons, the degree to which their cases are litigated justly, and case outcomes. Accordingly, we offer a few key insights, which we hope will find their way into the Commission’s recommendations.
Coalition Letter to Secretary Gates Regarding Military Commission Rulemaking (April 2011)
In light of Attorney General Holder’s April 4, 2011, announcement regarding the prosecution of the alleged planners and co-conspirators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the undersigned organizations request that the Department of Defense open the process for issuing regulations for the military commissions to allow meaningful pre-promulgation public participation. Certainly, future commissions will result in intensive public scrutiny of the system. Therefore, the Department should uphold the President's promise of openness in government by reforming the military commission rulemaking process.
Coalition Letters to Senate Judiciary and Appropriations on Federal Defender Budget Cuts (July 2013)
The undersigned organizations are deeply concerned about the devastating impact of sequestration on the federal indigent defense system. Our federal criminal justice system cannot be sustained unless all components – prosecution, judiciary and defense – receive adequate and stable funding. … To avert the crisis, Congress must restore funding to the Defenders Services account.
Davis v. United States Sentencing Commission
Brief of Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Appellant Brian Davis.
Argument: By 1995 Congress had overwhelming evidence that the 100:1 crack/powder cocaine sentencing ratio disproportionately impacted African Americans and was the principal cause for the widening gap in the length of incarceration for African American and white offenders. Nonetheless, in 1995, Congress rejected proposed equalization and left the 100:1 ratio intact despite its knowledge of the ratio’s discriminatory impact and without suggesting any rational basis for preserving the ratio. Congress’s 1995 reaffirmation of that ratio violated equal protection. It fails under strict scrutiny and fails under rational basis review. And continuing to enforce sentences imposed under the 100:1 ratio will erode public confidence in the judicial system and may undermine the effective administration of justice. This Court has not addressed in a published opinion whether Congress’s 1995 decision to reaffirm the 100:1 ration violated equal protection. NACDL urges the Court (i) to reverse the District Court’s decision holding that Congress did not violate equal protection by rejecting the Commission’s proposed 1:1 ratio and (ii) to remand the case.