For Immediate Release
Sharon Adams at 510.649.1331
or Carlos Villarreal at 415.377.6961
Over 100 State Bar Complaints Filed This Week Against Torture Lawyer William Haynes
Hundreds More Expected Demanding Accountability From Cal Bar
SAN FRANCISCO - The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco
Bay Area Chapter
(NLGSF) delivered over 100 complaints against former Department of
Defense General Counsel William Haynes to the California State
Bar offices Thursday in San Francisco. The complaints came from
ordinary Americans demanding that the state bar "conduct a thorough
investigation of Mr. Haynes' actions and omissions while General
Counsel at the Department of Defense. The complaints further demand a
formal decision on the outcome of the investigation.
The complaints were a response to a campaign launched by the NLGSF
empowering people to petition the state bar for disciplinary action
who, while with the Department of Defense during the Bush
administration, legally advocated for and even championed policies of
torture at Guantanamo
Bay and beyond. Complaints came mostly from California residents but
also from as far away as Maine and Washington D.C. They continue to
arrive by mail to NLGSF offices in San Francisco, all to eventually be
forwarded to the state bar.
"This campaign is appropriate because William Haynes was one of the
lawyers shaping policy that harmed so many prisoners and put all of us
danger," said Carlos Villarreal, Executive Director of the NLGSF.
"Anyone can file a complaint against a California lawyer, and while the
process should never be abused, the process ought to be available to
anyone and everyone when a lawyer commits wrongdoing from a position of
our government resulting in such a devastating and widespread effect."
The State Bar closed without prejudice a more detailed complaint filed
by the NLGSF in March of this year. The NLGSF will request a formal
review of that decision next week.
"The state bar investigates and disciplines far less powerful attorneys
who have committed far less egregious acts," said Sharon Adams, NLGSF
Executive Board Member. "It was surprising that they would close our
complaint without even initiating an investigation. It seems to
contradict one of the most important functions of the state bar - to
protect the public."
Haynes is currently registered in house counsel with the Chevron
Corporation in San Ramon. "Haynes is still in a position to do great
undoubtedly shaping the actions of a major corporation that has
committed human rights abuses around the world and had a major impact
environment," said Adams. "There is no doubt that the public needs to
be proactive when a lawyer like Haynes is still granted the privilege
practicing law and crafting policies that will continue to have an
enormous impact on people."
The campaign is overseen by the NLGSF Committee Against Torture. Links
to a complaint the public can use and the complaint already filed by
NLGSF can be found at http://www.nlgsf.org/
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.