Bill was a fearless champion of constitutional rights for all in both the civil and criminal arenas. His name will always be synonymous with the fight to end racial profiling on the New Jersey Turnpike. The hard won victory in State v. Soto, 324 N.J. Super. 66 (Law Div. 1996) came after years of dedicated teamwork fighting both the New Jersey State Police and the Attorney General’s Office. That landmark case, the first successful challenge of its kind in the nation, helped end the insidious practice of racial profiling on New Jersey’s highways.
But Bill was much more than just one case. He believed in fighting injustice in any form, in any forum. Bill was not only a Past President of our organization, he was a Director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and a Vice President of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. That organization honored Bill with its Roger N. Baldwin Civil Liberties Award.
Bill was accomplished, courageous, and indefatigable. He was also generous, genuine, and very, very funny. On behalf of the ACDL-NJ family, I extend our most heartfelt sympathy to Bill’s wife Shellie and his children Ethan and Emily. He will remain in our hearts forever, and will continue to inspire us to fight the good fight.
If you would like to make a contribution to honor Bill’s memory and further the cause he championed, the NACDL has set up a link http://nacdl.us/billbuckman to accept donations to the non-profit Foundation for Criminal Justice.
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.
The Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey is an active, engaged group of more than 400 members across New Jersey, assisting each other to become effective advocates on behalf of criminal defendants, especially in difficult situations. The ACDL-NJ continues 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. 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. The ACDL-NJ email discussion group enables members to reach out to our entire membership and pick the brains of the finest criminal defense lawyers in this State. 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.