The ACDL-NJ's History and Mission
The Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey (ACDL-NJ) was established in 1985 and has since become the primary organized voice for the criminal defense bar in New Jersey. The ACDL-NJ was formed, among other reasons, to respond to the continuing problems confronting criminal defense lawyers when they honestly, ethically, but zealously represent their clients; to protect and insure compliance with those individual rights guaranteed by the New Jersey and United States Constitutions; and to encourage cooperation among criminal defense lawyers engaged in the furtherance of those objectives. The criminal defense lawyer has a difficult job, which is poorly understood by the public and, on occasion, even by the courts. The ACDL-NJ's message to criminal defense lawyers has always been, and will continue to be: in your efforts to insure the basic rights and liberties of all people, you are not alone.
Message from ACDL-NJ President Timothy M. Donohue, Esq.
Welcome to the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey. Our Association is an active, engaged group of more than 300 members across New Jersey, assisting each other to become effective advocates on behalf of criminal defendants, especially in difficult situations.
The ACDL-NJ has continued to advance this mission since my previous update last summer. We have welcomed more than two dozen new members, including a number of law students and newly-admitted lawyers (members of the Bar for fewer than three years) who have taken advantage of the free membership that the ACDL-NJ offers them. Our 24th Annual "Super Saturday" continuing legal education seminar in October 2012, and our CJA Seminar in January 2013, each provided updates on cutting-edge subjects critical to advising criminal clients, such as immigration law developments and electronic evidence in criminal cases. The ACDL-NJ has also continued to make its voice heard in the New Jersey appellate courts as amicus curiae on behalf of the interests of the criminal defense bar and its clients in important matters: as but two examples, we are acting as amicus in the Superior Court, Appellate Division, in a case involving the issuance of grand jury subpoenas to more than two dozen attorneys, whose clients had been indicted but not yet tried, raising a significant issue concerning the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, and as amicus in the Supreme Court we recently advocated against the State's effort to restrict criminal discovery in child pornography cases. Our Lawyers Assistance Committee has successfully advocated on behalf of ACDL members in federal court, and our Legislation Committee has continued to monitor and weigh in on pending legislation affecting criminal defendants. And our members have actively taken advantage of our newly-redesigned email discussion group, which enables them to reach out to our entire membership and pick the brains of the finest criminal defense lawyers in this State; in recent discussion threads, members have educated each other about how to handle discovery disputes, police destruction of evidence, expert witnesses, inter-court scheduling conflicts, and cross-examination techniques. In addition, we will soon share with members an update to the ACDL's county-by-county guide to jail visitation and bail applications.
In sum, there has never been a better time to become a member of the ACDL-NJ. If you are already a member and have suggestions about how to make the ACDL-NJ more useful to its members, please let us know.