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March 5, 2010

STATE BAR ASSOCIATION URGES SENATORS SCHUMER AND GILLIBRAND TO OPPOSE BILL THAT BLOCKS THE USE OF FEDERAL MONEY TO HOLD CRIMINAL TRIALS IN FEDERAL COURTS

New York State Bar Association President Michael E. Getnick (Getnick Livingston Atkinson & Priore, LLP of Utica and of counsel to Getnick & Getnick of New York City) released letters today he sent to United States Senators Charles Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand urging them to oppose legislation that would block the use of federal money to hold criminal trials in federal courts of certain suspects detained at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.

The letters call on the two senators to oppose S.2977, sponsored by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, that effectively prevents the U.S. Justice Department from trying certain Guantanamo detainees in federal civilian courts, also known as Article III courts.

"This bill would effectively preclude trial of certain detainees in Article III courts, no matter the facts of the case or the circumstances of their detention," wrote Getnick. "The State Bar Association believes in the strength of our court system, which has been demonstrated over the years in so many different ways.

"Many trials of those seen as terrorists have been held and successfully concluded in federal courts. S. 2977 would send the message, both in the United States and throughout the world, that our judicial system does not have the capability to try those detained at Guantanamo. It is the wrong message and not supported by historical fact. The New York State Bar Association strongly urges you to vote against S. 2977," Getnick concluded.

To view a full copy of the letters sent to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand today, please visit www.nysba.org/GuantanamoLetters.

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Founded in 1876, the 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. The State Bar's programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for more than 130 years. For more information, visit us at our Web site at www.nysba.org.