For Immediate Release
Carlos Villarreal in San Francisco 415.377.6961
Jim Lafferty in Los Angeles 323.653.4510
Sharon Adams in Berkeley 510.649.1331
Complaint Filed Against Former Dept. of Defense Lawyer William Haynes
Former Department of Defense General Counsel Recommended Torture, Harsh Interrogation Techniques
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF) is
filing a complaint with the California State Bar today against former
Department of Defense General Counsel William Haynes. The complaint
against Haynes, who now works for the Chevron Corporation in San Ramon,
states that he "breached his duty as a lawyer and advocated for harsh
tactics amounting to torture in violation of U.S. and international law
... advocacy that directly lead to detainee abuses at the Guantanamo
Bay and Abu Grahib facilities."
A copy of the complaint is available upon request or can be accessed at: http://www.nlgsf.org/
The complaint will be mailed to the State Bar Los Angeles office and
hand-delivered to the State Bar Office in San Francisco, where there
will be a 12:30 press conference.
Press Conference State Bar Office 180 Howard Street Monday, March 16, 12:30 PM
believe Mr. Haynes must be held accountable, just as any other lawyer
would be," said Carlos Villarreal, Executive Director of the NLGSF.
"But we are filing this complaint today not out of motivation to harm
Mr. Haynes, but to ensure that torture is again relegated to the status
it had before the Bush Administration's tenure, and that the harmful,
sometimes deadly, and completley ineffective policy of torture is truly
While working for the Department of Defense, Haynes
ignored the serious concerns coming from all branches of the military
and recommended in a memo to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld,
approval of certain harsh interrogation techniques, including removal
of clothing, stress positions, and the use of dogs against detainees.
The Senate Armed Services Committee has described the memo as "grossly
"Powerful leaders can and do engage in illegal acts
and inhumane treatment of others. These leaders often rely on lawyers
and the legal system to give the appearance of legitimacy to an illegal
agenda. Sadly, there always seems to be lawyers willing to do the
bidding of powerful rulers," said Sharon Adams, attorney member of the
NLGSF. "The State Bar must uphold ethics and the rule of law, and
repudiate Mr. Haynes' actions."
Haynes worked with other lawyers
in the Bush administration who have yet to face consequences for their
advocacy of torture and other wrongdoing, including former Justice
Department lawyer and current UC Berkeley School of Law Professor John
Yoo. "We are in a position where even members of the new
administration are suggesting criminal charges against Bush officials
for torture and other crimes are off the table since many of these
officials relied on legal advice," said Jim Lafferty, Executive
Director of the National Lawyers Guild Office in Los Angeles. "If the
lawyers are not held accountable for their misdeeds, then essentially
high crimes with serious consequences have been committed but nobody is
As a Registered in House Counsel for the Chevron
Corporation, Haynes was not required to take the California Bar Exam
but is also not able to appear in court or practice law beyond giving
advice to Chevron. He is, however, required to "abide by all of the
laws and rules that govern members of the State Bar of California,"
according to California Rules of Court.
The National Lawyers Guild is dedicated to the need for basic and progressive change in the structure of our political and economic system. Through its members--lawyers, law students, jailhouse lawyers and legal workers united in chapters and committees--the Guild works locally, nationally and internationally as an effective political and social force in the service of the people.