It’s been an exciting week for the Free Raven 23 movement in terms of adding key allies to our fight for true justice for Nick Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard. First, Colonel Allen West picked up our story, creating a firestorm of increased awareness for our cause. Then, as you likely read in the article we shared yesterday from Law360, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief arguing that Nick, Paul, Evan, and Dustin’s convictions should be overturned. Having the support of a “non-partisan professional bar association” whose purpose is to “advance the mission of the nation’s criminal defense lawyers to ensure equal protection and the fair administration of justice for persons accused of crime or other misconduct,” is HUGE in terms of adding credibility and visibility to our fight.
NACDL’s amicus brief tackles four key issues in the Raven 23 appeal: (1) lack of jurisdiction; (2) improper venue; (3) the trial judge’s abuse of discretion in failing to grant a new trial after learning a key government witness had perjured his trial testimony; and (4) the government’s unconstitutional, vindictive prosecution of Nick Slatten. In 30 short pages, you will see an INDEPENDENT and well-respected organization address all these issues and describe the Raven 23 case as a prosecution that “should have never happened.” You will learn how the government and trial judge’s actions in manufacturing venue in Washington, DC, “contravenes the plain meaning” of the United States Code and “subverts” the Constitution. You will read about how the trial judge’s gross abuse of discretion in sweeping under the rug a post-verdict perjury revelation from a key witness rather than ordering a new trial leaves “the integrity of the criminal justice system . . . compromised.” And, finally, you will see the following description of the government’s eleventh-hour murder charge against Nick after Nick defeated the government on lesser charges: “[a] more textbook case of vindictive prosecution can scarcely be imagined.”
Hard-hitting and revealing many examples of the prosecutorial misconduct, gross abuses of judicial discretion, and blatant disregard for the rule of law that denied Nick, Paul, Evan, and Dustin a fair trial, NACDL’s brief is a must-read for anyone concerned about justice (or in the Raven 23 case, the complete lack of it). You can find NACDL’s brief on the Appeal page of the Free Raven 23 website.