Showing 1 - 15 of 67 results
- Champion Article
Miscarriages of Justice: Litigating Beyond Factual Innocence
A Guide From the Academy for Justice’s Miscarriages of Justice Initiative
How are stakeholders finding relief for miscarriages of justice? Advocates have created a guide that gathers in one place new and creative offensive tools for consideration by post-conviction litigators, prosecutors, the wrongfully convicted, policy advocates, judges, and legislators. This article provides a summary of the guide.
“Progressive Prosecutor” - Challenges (and Opportunities) for Defenders
Panelists discuss some of the unique challenges and opportunities defense attorneys face when working in jurisdictions with prosecutors seeking to re-shape the traditional role of prosecutors including how to maintain an adversarial relationship while pursuing shared goals for reforms; how to manage client, community, defender expectations of change; and more.
Panelists include: Wesley Bell, Prosecuting Attorney, St. Louis, MO, Natasha Dartigue, Deputy Public Defender, Baltimore, MD, and Marissa Elkins, Bar Advocate, Northampton, MA.
Moderator: Tony Thedford, Thedford Garber Law, Chicago, IL
Developing & Implementing Change in Prosecution
Panelists discuss the challenges faced in progressive prosecution; when judges become obstacles or assume a traditional prosecutorial role; how to change the culture of the prosecutor's and law enforcement's offices; how to measure success and allocate risks; and, how to prevent and remedy wrongful convictions.
Panelists include: Mark Dupree, District Attorney, Wyandotte County, KS, Mark Gonzalez, District Attorney, Nueces County, TX, and Stephanie N. Morales, Commonwealth's Attorney, Portsmouth, VA.
Moderator: Nichole Parisi, General Counsel, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys
Material Indifference: How Courts Are Impeding Fair Disclosure in Criminal Cases
The integrity of the criminal justice system relies on the guarantees made to the actors operating within it. For the accused, the guarantee of fair process includes not only the right to put on a defense, but to put on a complete defense. The U.S. Supreme Court recognized the importance of this guarantee over 50 years ago, in Brady v. Maryland, when it declared that failure to disclose favorable information violates the constitution when that information is material. This guarantee, however, is frequently unmet. [Released November 2014]
Blankenship v. United States
Brief of Amicus Curiae for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Petitioner.
Argument: This case raises a question of fundamental importance to our criminal justice system. The circuits are split down the middle with respect to whether Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), and its progeny impose affirmative obligations on criminal defendants to seek out exculpatory evidence from other sources even when the government already possesses the evidence in question. This dispute has created uncertainty about the scope of Brady's protections and has imposed investigatory obligations on some criminal defendants while imposing no such obligations on others. And it raises fundamental questions about the nature of our criminal justice system and the Constitution more broadly. These questions deserve this Court's immediate attention.
- News Release
News Release ~ 04/20/2015
FBI Testimony on Microscopic Hair Analysis Contained Errors in at least 90% of Cases in Ongoing Review: 26 of 28 FBI Analysts Provided Testimony or Reports with Errors -- (Washington, DC – April 20, 2015) The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Innocence Project and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) reported today that the FBI has concluded that the examiners' testimony in at least 90 percent of trial transcripts the Bureau analyzed as part of its Microscopic Hair Comparison Analysis...
Nowill v. State of Georgia
Table of Contents Included in Document
Memorandum in Support of Habeas Petition in Child Sex Abuse Case
Open Records Request
Letter to Defense Expert
Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus
Moiton for New Trial
Motion for Issuance and Enforcement of Subpoena for Additional Medical Records
Ruling on Motion for New Trial and Ruling by Georgia Court of Appeals
Argument: With proper investigation, preparation, and presentation by the defense in this case, there is absolutely overwhelming evidence that supports Mr. Nowill's total innocence. Mr. Nowill is presently seven years into the service of his sentence of thirty years in prison because, to date, no sitting judge or sitting jury had presented to them the complete evidence in this case for their consideration. Mr. Nowill is, in fact, innocent.
Mr. Nowill is the father of the alleged victim, Heather Nowill. On August 13, 2000, Heather, then aged 16, claimed that her father had been having a sexual relationship with her over the previous four years since she was 12 years old. She claimed this sexual relationship involved digital penetration of her vagina, mutual oral sex between she and her father, and full acts of sexual intercourse with complete and full penetration of her vagina by her father's penis occurring 3 to 4 times weekly for the duration of the 4 year period of time. Stunned when he first confronted with these allegations on the day of her outcry, and continuing for 2 years including his testimony before the jury in this case, Mr. Nowill denied any sexual contact with his daughter and consistently has maintained his innocence.
On the day of her alleged outcry Heather was required to undergo a medical examination at University Hospital. The complete report of this examination was not provided to trial counsel by the State. Trial counsel did not independently request of subpoena the medical records of the examination. The State did not call the doctors who performed the medical examination to testify in the trial. Also, despite the extensive and ongoing allegations of intercourse by Heather, trial counsel did not request or subpoena the medical records from her regular doctor throughout the period of time in question. With virtually nothing except the word of the alleged victim the case proceeded to trial. Even law enforcement personnel admitted there was absolutely no physical evidence to support the allegation.
Comments to DOJ on Advancing Forensic Science (June 2017)
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) commends the Department of Justice (DOJ) for its previous efforts to improve the reliability of forensic evidence in the criminal justice system. NACDL submits this comment to urge the DOJ to continue to advance and improve the reliability of forensic science as outlined below, including: reinstatement of a national commission on forensic science; implementation of a Forensic Science Discipline Review; and development of scientific standards for testimony and reports with input from independent scientists and statisticians.
Hammoud v. Ma’at
Brief of Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Petitioner-Appellant.
Argument: NACDL’s amicus brief argues that under the savings clause of 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e), a prisoner may seek habeas corpus relief through 28 U.S.C. § 2241 under limited circumstances: when the § 2255 remedy is “inadequate or ineffective to test the legality of [the prisoner’s] detention.” 28 U.S.C. § 2255(e). For 20 years, the Fifth Circuit has recognized that the § 2255 remedy is “inadequate or ineffective” if a petitioner cannot seek relief despite a retroactively applicable Supreme Court decision establishing that the petitioner may have been convicted of a nonexistent crime. Although that test leaves the door closed on some actual-innocence claims that should be recognized, it is generally consistent with the savings-clause tests applied in nearly every other federal court of appeals. Most importantly, that test confirms that the savings clause offers more than a hollow process providing no practical opportunity to end unlawful imprisonment. The Tenth and Eleventh Circuits, by contrast, have held that the savings clause applies only if the procedure afforded by § 2255 was formally unavailable. According to those courts, so long as there was some theoretical chance to assert a claim under § 2255—even if the claim was futile or frivolous under existing precedent—the remedy was adequate and effective. The Fifth Circuit should not modify or overrule its savings-clause jurisprudence to align itself with the Tenth and Eleventh Circuits. The test applied in those circuits contravenes the text of the savings clause and congressional intent, poses constitutional concerns, and would force petitioners and their counsel to disregard binding precedent, court rules, and ethical obligations that forbid arguments that would be frivolous under settled law. Moreover, application of the formal-process test would undermine public confidence in the justice system’s treatment of prisoners who contend that retroactive changes in the law mean they are actually innocent.
Comments to DOJ on Proposed Regulations in Capital Cases (September 2007)
Comments to the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs regarding proposed regulations in capital cases to address competent and well-funded counsel, post-conviction review, wrongful conviction, and racial disparity issues.
Statement to the House Subcommittee on Crime on Forensic Evidence in the Legal System (March 2017)
NACDL's statement to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations regarding the need for reliable, accredited, transparent forensic science to ensure proper due process in criminal cases.