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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/4/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The courts deal out another victory for law and justice

An ambitious plan by President Barack Obama's administration to grant clemency to thousands of prisoners suffered a serious blow after federal courts ruled that the hundreds of federal public defenders and other court-appointed attorneys were not actually authorized to represent these inmates.

The American justice system has dealt another blow to Obama's continual unconstitutional power grab, blocking federally paid lawyers from representing clients who want clemency.

The American justice system has dealt another blow to Obama's continual unconstitutional power grab, blocking federally paid lawyers from representing clients who want clemency.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/4/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: News, US, Legal


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The decision was laid out in a memo written by the top lawyer for the Administrative Office of the Courts, effectively baring lawyers from drafting or submitting clemency petitions because the Constitution does not actually guarantee inmates the right to legal representation in such procedures.

Bring light to the darkness with "prayer and action."

General Counsel Robert Loesche wrote in a memo that was circulated to federal defenders and chief judges in all U.S. district and appellate courts that: "There is no Sixth Amendment right to counsel for purposes of seeking executive clemency and no statutory right, except in capital cases . there is no authority under the CJA [Criminal Justice Act] or other law to appoint counsel in non-capital clemency proceedings."

This interpretation means that federal defenders and court-appointed private attorneys can not be legally paid from representing clemency candidates, causing considerable setback for the coalition of legal and advocacy groups that have stepped in to lead the clemency effort on behalf of the Justice Department.

Groups that are a part of the Clemency Project include the National Association of Defense Lawyers, the American Civil Liberties Union, Families Against Mandatory Minimums and the American Bar Association.

"Public defenders have [been] and are involved in the [Justice] Department's clemency process, primarily through Clemency Project 2014 on a pro bono basis," a Justice Department spokesperson said. "We expect them to continue to have a robust role to play."

The memo went on to say that the Federal Public Defenders Organization would not be precluded "from screening its client files to identify individuals who may satisfy the criteria established under this initiative or from reviewing files to assist another attorney representing a clemency applicant" but that "actual representation would have to be provided by others."

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