New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

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Director of Communications

NJSBA President Wayne J. Positan Speaks Out Against Stimson Remarks

The following is a statement from New Jersey State Bar Association President Wayne J. Positan

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – “The New Jersey State Bar Association was dismayed to learn of a statement made January 11th by Charles D. Stimson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs at the Pentagon during an interview on Federal News Radio where he questioned the motives of some law firms providing pro bono assistance to individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He further suggested that U.S. corporations should not do business with such law firms.

The NJSBA joins with the American Bar Association, NY State Bar Association, American Judicature Society and about 100 law school deans who have since condemned the comments as antithetical to the mandates of the U.S. Constitution. The right to counsel is a fundamental component of the rule of law, no matter who the defendant may be. Further, the pro bono representation of defendants by law firms should be commended and not discouraged. We applaud the Departments of Defense and Justice for quickly disavowing Mr. Stimson’s remarks stating that they do not represent the views of their agencies.

The NJSBA encourages these law firms and the individual attorneys providing representation to stand firm in their commitment to protect the rights of even the most unpopular defendants, as our constitution envisioned. We are confident that America’s business community will do the same and will ignore the inappropriate overtures made by Mr. Stimson.”

The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice.