Follow the intense and dramatic work of the passionate and harried Legal Aid lawyers on Brooklyn's criminal defense beat. This innovative new series takes you inside a world of high-stakes battles between public defender and prosecutor. Lives and the future of entire families hang in the balance as our legal system tries to mete out justice for all. Founded on unprecedented access to Brooklyn's Legal Aid Society, in every case the very freedom of an often-innocent client is at stake. These lawyers are overworked, underpaid, dedicated, and tireless advocates–fighting tough battles in the hopes of achieving justice for their clients.

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 30 minutes

Premier: 2012-09-11

Criminal Defense - Superior orders - Netflix

Superior orders, often known as the Nuremberg defense, lawful orders or by the German phrase Befehl ist Befehl (“an order is an order”), is a plea in a court of law that a person—whether a member of the military, law enforcement, a firefighting force, or the civilian population—not be held guilty for actions ordered by a superior officer or an official. The superior orders plea is often regarded as the complement to command responsibility. One of the most noted uses of this plea, or defense, was by the accused in the 1945–1946 Nuremberg trials, such that it is also called the “Nuremberg defense”. The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the main victorious Allied forces after World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany. These trials, under the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal that set them up, established that the defense of superior orders was no longer enough to escape punishment, but merely enough to lessen punishment. Historically, the plea of superior orders has been used both before and after the Nuremberg Trials, with a notable lack of consistency in various rulings. Apart from the specific plea of superior orders, discussions about how the general concept of superior orders ought to be used, or ought not to be used, have taken place in various arguments, rulings and statutes that have not necessarily been part of “after the fact” war crimes trials, strictly speaking. Nevertheless, these discussions and related events help to explain the evolution of the specific plea of superior orders and the history of its usage.

Criminal Defense - Israeli law since 1956 - Netflix

In 1957, the Israeli legal system established the concept of a 'blatantly illegal order' to explain when a military order (or in general, a security-related order) should be followed, and when an order must not be followed. The concept is explained in 1957 by the infamous Kafr Qasim massacre ruling. The Kafr Qasim trial considered for the first time the issue of when Israeli security personnel are required to disobey illegal orders. The judges decided that soldiers do not have the obligation to examine each and every order in detail as to its legality, nor were they entitled to disobey orders merely on a subjective feeling that they might be illegal. On the other hand, some orders were manifestly illegal, and these must be disobeyed. Judge Benjamin Halevy's words, still much-quoted today, were that “The distinguishing mark of a manifestly illegal order is that above such an order should fly, like a black flag, a warning saying: 'Prohibited!'.” (Lippman, Bilsky). Captain (res.) Itai Haviv, a signatory of the 'courage to refuse' letter of 2002 tells of his unhappiness about his service for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and says “For 35 years a black flag was proudly hanging over our heads, but we have refused to see it”. A translation note explains the “Black Flag” principle but adds “In the 45 years that passed since [the ruling], not even a single soldier was protected by a military court for refusing to obey a command because it was a 'black flag' command.”

Criminal Defense - References - Netflix