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New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - NYSACDL

New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - NYSACDL
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Updated: NYSACDL Opposes ABA Resolution 114

Update, 8/13: On August 12th, the ABA House of Delegates voted 256-165 to postpone the resolution indefinitely. You can read more from the ABA Journal here. Thank you to everyone who participated and support the opposition of this resolution.



Update: Members of the American Law Institute have sent a letter to ABA President Robert M. Carlson. In the letter, the ALI states that “both because the content of Resolution 114 is directly contrary to the position taken by ALI” and that “the ‘Report’ submitted by the supporters of Resolution 114 inaccurately describes the actions and positions taken by ALI.” You can read and share the letter here:




The New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NYSACDL) is the largest and most comprehensive group of criminal defense lawyers in New York State.  Our membership consists of public defenders, private attorneys, law professors and other legal professionals.


NYSACDL vehemently opposes ABA Resolution 114, which seeks to redefine consent in a criminal sexual assault allegation.  As written, this resolution dramatically alters prior definitions and unconstitutionally shifts the burden of proof to the accused to negate  a claim of lack of consent.  This will have a profound effect on defendants and creates a greater likelihood of wrongful conviction; convictions that can never be exonerated by DNA in the context of consent.  The proposal violates the presumption of innocence, and the 5th Amendment and violates the Due Process Clauses.  Moreover, we have grave concerns that this shift will contribute to the mass incarceration crisis in the United States.


We stand with our national affiliate, NACDL, in opposing the ABA resolution and endorse NACDL’s position statement in opposition to Resolution 114.  This statement also contains a suggestion of alternate language which reaffirms the foundational legal standard that the burden of proof on the question of consent never shifts from the prosecution.


The ABA House of Delegates will vote on this resolution on August 12, 2019. NYSACDL urges New York’s Delegates to vote NO on ABA Resolution 114.