Ever since federal prosecutors indicted an abrasive Miami criminal defense lawyer and a former Department of Justice extradition expert five years ago, howls of outrage have reverberated from defense lawyers nationwide.

William Moran and Michael Abbell were charged with being part of the infamous Cali cartel’s vast drug importation and distribution enterprise even though, defense lawyers contend, there is no evidence the two had ever brought drugs into the United States or joined in the cartel’s other illegal activities. By saying that representing members of the cartel amounted to becoming part of their criminal activity, the government was putting the practice of lawyering on trial and intimidating the defense bar.