UPDATE: As first reported on @Davidovalle305 Officer Jonathan Aledda was convicted Monday evening of the misdemeanor of culpable negligence and aquitted of all other felonies in the re-trial of the shooting and death of an autistic man. The first trial ended in a hung jury. Reid Ruben and Don Horn for the prosecution and Jay Kolsky and Doug Hartman for the defense. We blogged about the first trial here.
Judge Alan Fine presided over both trials.
The NACDL's motto is "Liberty's last Champion".
Criminal defense attorneys defend the un-defendable. Before they get to our client they have to get though us. We honor attorneys with the John Adams award named after our second president who, as an attorney, represented British Soldiers who fired into a crowd in Boston.
We defend people charged with unspeakable crimes.
One of our brethern stepped into the breach in 1996 and represented Richard Jewel who was accused by the FBI of planting the bomb at the 1996 summer olympics in Atlanta. Jewel fit the classic profile of a bomber. A loner, estranged, and a classic under-achiever. The world recoiled at Jewel's cowardly act. He was universally reviled and condemend. And he was innocent. As the FBI later admitted, Eric Rudolph, an abortion opponent, was the bomber.
Much of what we do involves a system rife with racial bias. From police officers who stop and arrest (and sometimes shoot and kill) young black men who have done nothing wrong, to prosecutors who still systemically exclude African Americans from jury service, racism still stains our system of "justice". We are not so far removed from a time when a small heroic band of lawyers like Thurgood Marshall raced around the South defending African Americans in small towns where trials were shams.
So what do we do about this?
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