John Wesley Hall,
Jr. is a criminal defense lawyer who practices in Little Rock,
Arkansas. He is President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. His criminal practice includes trials, appeals,
and post-conviction litigation. As NACDL's
ethics advisor, he has been consulted by at least
850 criminal lawyers seeking confidential counsel on ethics
issues in the U.S., Military Courts, Canada, and International
Tribunals. A student of the law of legal ethics in criminal
defense practice and prosecutorial misconduct for over 20
years, he has argued twice in the U.S. Supreme Court, authored
numerous amicus briefs in the Supreme Court for NACDL and
others, and he has appeared in four federal circuit courts.
Licensed to practice
law for nearly 36 years, he has handled over 250 jury trials
and over 250 appeals, having made at least 80 oral arguments,
two in the U.S. Supreme Court. He concentrates on cases involving
search and seizure issues, particularly drug offenses and
computer crime. He also handles street crime, white collar
crime, and homicide, war crimes, and death penalty cases.
Professional Responsibility of the Criminal Lawyer was first
published in 1987 and the second edition was published in
He received his
law degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
in 1973. Before beginning his criminal defense practice, Mr.
Hall was a deputy prosecuting attorney in Little Rock, and
he was head of the office's Career Criminal Division at the
time he entered private practice in 1979. He also is licensed
to practice in New York, Nevada, Tennessee, and the District
of Columbia, seven federal district courts, as well as seven
of the thirteen federal appellate circuits, and the International
He also handles
a limited number of civil constitutional cases. He is currently
involved in the defense of a Sierra Leone government official
accused of war crimes in putting down that country's civil
war on trial before the Special
Court of Sierra Leone, an international
war crimes tribunal. That trial keeps him in West Africa on
He is also a
Fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers, and a Past
President of the Arkansas Association of Criminal Defense
Lawyers receiving its Champion of Justice Award in 2003 and
Humanitarian Award in 2005.
He is regular
CLE speaker on lawyers' ethics for criminal defense lawyers,
having done at least 100 CLEs in about 35 states, Québec,
and The Hague. He has also appeared as an expert witness on
the question of legal ethics of criminal defense lawyers,
criminal defense malpractice, ineffective assistance of counsel,
and prosecutorial misconduct from both sides. He has been
an occasional Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of
Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law and a lecturer at UALR's
Graduate School of Criminal Justice.
"If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn't, and they don't."
"Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government."
—Shemaya, in the Thalmud
"A system of law that not only makes certain conduct criminal, but also lays
down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its
application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect
results, especially if one's attention is confined to the particular case at
bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping
government and its servants in their place. That is one of the costs of having
and enforcing a Bill of Rights. This country is built on the assumption that
the cost is worth paying, and that in the long run we are all both freer and
safer if the Constitution is strictly enforced."
v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold,
J.), rev'd Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).
"The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing
can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws,
or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence." —Mapp
v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).
Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment.
—Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).
"There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that
bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the
police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater
than it is today."
v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).
"The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their
v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)
"It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have
frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And
so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his
case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth
States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)
"The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated
here, has not–to put it mildly–run smooth."
v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).
"A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the
bottom of a turntable."
v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)
"For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly
exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth
Amendment protection. ... But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in
an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected."
v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)
“Experience should teach us to be most on guard to
protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born
to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded
rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men
of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”
States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)
“Liberty—the freedom from unwarranted
intrusion by government—is as easily lost through insistent nibbles by
government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose
it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark.”
States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)
"You can't always get what you want /
But if you try sometimes / You just might find / You get what you need."
—Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
"In Germany, they first came for the communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for
the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Catholic. Then they came
for me–and by that time there was nobody left to speak up."
—Martin Niemöller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration
“You know, most men would get discouraged by
now. Fortunately for you, I am not most men!”
—Pepé Le Pew
"There is never enough time, unless you are serving it."
"The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers,
is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which
reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that
those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being
judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting
v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)