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kurth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 07:11 AM
Original message
Gonzales gets more power to speed up states' executions
Gonzales could get say in states' executions
Proposed rules would let the attorney general sign off on 'fast tracking' death penalty appeals.
By Richard B. Schmitt, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 14, 2007

WASHINGTON The Justice Department is putting the final touches on regulations that could give Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales important new sway over death penalty cases in California and other states, including the power to shorten the time that death row inmates have to appeal convictions to federal courts.

The rules implement a little-noticed provision in last year's reauthorization of the Patriot Act that gives the attorney general the power to decide whether individual states are providing adequate counsel for defendants in death penalty cases. The authority has been held by federal judges.

Under the rules now being prepared, if a state requested it and Gonzales agreed, prosecutors could use "fast track" procedures that could shave years off the time that a death row inmate has to appeal to the federal courts after conviction in a state court.

The move to shorten the appeals process and effectively speed up executions comes at a time of growing national concern about the fairness of the death penalty, underscored by the use of DNA testing to establish the innocence of more than a dozen death row inmates in recent years...

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-na-pe...
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 07:16 AM
Response to Original message
1. i read that in my morning paper and threw up
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DemocratSinceBirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 07:18 AM
Response to Original message
2. Gotta Kill Em Before They Prove They're Innocent
eom
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Bosso 63 Donating Member (759 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 07:28 AM
Response to Original message
3. Sure, and Bill Frist should run the Humane society.
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Benhurst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 08:53 AM
Response to Original message
4. We could save even more money by eliminating appeals altogether.
Alberto could set aside one day a month for the names of convicted criminals could be read out at a stadium for him to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, eliminating costly litigation and incarceration entirely.

More money-saving ideas: set up a guillotine at the stadium for instant justice.

Charge for seats at the stadium and pay-for-view television.
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Ezlivin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 09:10 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Are you nuts?
Just let the police shoot them when they arrest them. Then sell the in-car videos to "America's Most Wanted." You can make more money off that franchise with licensing fees and reruns.

Free market justice.

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Benhurst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 09:43 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Do you always need the
:sarcasm: icon to recognize it?
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Ezlivin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Do you?
My post was just as sarcastic as yours.

:)

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Benhurst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 11:12 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. Apparently we both do.
Edited on Tue Aug-14-07 11:12 AM by Benhurst
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
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Benhurst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. On re-reading the thread,
the joke is on me. :rofl: :hi:
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 11:07 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. Apparently you do. lol!
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Beelzebud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 11:08 AM
Response to Original message
9. Our government is totally broken.
Gonzo should be getting impeached right now, not handed more and more powers...

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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
11. Gonzales and the Death Penalty : The Texas Clemency Memos
http://humanraceandothersports.com/columns/13/gonzales-...

Saturday, January 15, 2005
Gonzales and the Death Penalty
I am a Ford, not a Lincoln
Gerald Ford, 1973

<snip>
In an article written for The Atlantic in July, 2003, Alan Berlow describes execution briefings Mr. Gonzales prepared while serving as counsel to Governor Bush. The briefings described the nature of the crime, mitigating circumstances and the like. Mr. Berlow obtained fifty-seven confidential memoranda prepared by Mr. Gonzales. The memoranda formed the basis for discussions Mr. Gonzales then had with Governor Bush that sometimes lasted as long as one-half hour which is not all that surprising given the subject matter of the discussion. Their purpose was to assist Governor Bush in reaching the decision that it was appropriate to let the condemned person proceed to the death chamber for execution.

In analyzing the memoranda Mr. Berlow observes that Mr. Gonzales repeatedly failed to apprise the governor of crucial issues in the cases at hand: ineffective counsel, conflict of interest, mitigating evidence, even actual evidence of innocence. While persuasive in many respects, Mr. Berlows description of the memorandum prepared by Mr. Gonzales for the governors review of the case of Carl Johnson who was executed on September 19, 1995 is not. Mr. Berlow notes that Mr. Gonzales did not point out to the governor that Mr. Johnsons trial lawyer had slept through much of the jury selection. What Mr. Berlow probably did not realize is that in Texas that is no big deal. Examples of sleeping lawyers abound as anyone who has followed Texas criminal law knows.

George McFarland, for example, was tried for a robbery-killing and his attorney was described by court room witnesses as having been in a deep sleep for much of the trial. In response to a suggestion that a sleeping lawyer was equivalent to ineffective assistance of counsel the trial judge was quoted as saying, quite correctly: The Constitution doesnt say the lawyer has to be awake. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed with the result although a dissenting judge did hazard the observation that the majoritys conclusion was ridiculous.

Another example of Texas style defense was offered by Calvin Burdine who was also represented by sleeping counsel. In his case not only the court of criminal appeals in Texas but a panel of the Federal 5th Circuit of Appeals thought that was no big deal. Writing for the panel federal judge Edith Jones (who may soon be nominated to join Clarence Thomas and friends) said: We cannot determine whether slept during a critical stage of Burdines trial. She said other equally amusing things the recounting of which space denies me. Notwithstanding Texass somewhat cavalier attitude towards sleeping lawyers, higher courts have intervened and both men remain alive as the wheels of justice creak along.



http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200307/berlow

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 next


The Atlantic Monthly | July/August 2003


The Texas Clemency Memos

As the legal counsel to Texas Governor George W. Bush, Alberto R. Gonzalesnow the White House counsel, and widely regarded as a likely future Supreme Court nomineeprepared fifty-seven confidential death-penalty memoranda for Bush's review. Never before discussed publicly, the memoranda suggest that Gonzales repeatedly failed to apprise Bush of some of the most salient issues in the cases at hand
by Alan Berlow

.....

On the morning of May 6, 1997, Governor George W. Bush signed his name to a confidential three-page memorandum from his legal counsel, Alberto R. Gonzales, and placed a bold black check mark next to a single word: DENY. It was the twenty-ninth time a death-row inmate's plea for clemency had been denied in the twenty-eight months since Bush had been sworn in. In this case Bush's signature led, shortly after 6:00 P.M. on the very same day, to the execution of Terry Washington, a mentally retarded thirty-three-year-old man with the communication skills of a seven-year-old.

Washington's death was barely noted by the media, and the governor's office issued no statement about it. But the execution and the three-page memo that sealed Washington's fatealong with dozens of similar memoranda prepared for Bushspeak volumes about the way the clemency process was approached both by Bush and by Gonzales, the man most often mentioned as the President's choice for the next available seat on the Supreme Court.

During Bush's six years as governor 150 men and two women were executed in Texasa record unmatched by any other governor in modern American history. Each time a person was sentenced to death, Bush received from his legal counsel a document summarizing the facts of the case, usually on the morning of the day scheduled for the execution, and was then briefed on those facts by his counsel; based on this information Bush allowed the execution to proceed in all cases but one. The first fifty-seven of these summaries were prepared by Gonzales, a Harvard-educated lawyer who went on to become the Texas secretary of state and a justice on the Texas supreme court. He is now the White House counsel.

..more..
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 11:53 AM
Response to Original message
12. delete
Edited on Tue Aug-14-07 11:54 AM by G_j
delete
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 11:59 AM
Response to Original message
13. We can see how EXCELLENT Abu Gonzo was as a Texas Supreme Court Justice.
:wow:

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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-14-07 12:57 PM
Response to Original message
15. I'm surprised at the lack of response
I saw this late last night, early this AM - I thought DU would be buzzing with this new development. But nothing. And the one thread that has response, well most of the people are acting as if Congress wrote this legislation when what is happening is the Bushies are manipulating what was written to do this. Congress didn't pass this law. They're going to be implementing an execution policy that WE never gave them the authority to do. They have officially turned their power grab on US, ignoring every Constitutional authority and protection.
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