Saturday, August 06, 2005

Judges oppose Republicans' speedy execution bill

LA Times: Top Jurists Pan Faster Death Penalty Appeals
By Henry Weinstein, Times Staff Writer
Chief justices of state courts from around the country have urged the U.S. Senate not to pass a bill aimed at speeding death penalty appeals.

The resolution passed overwhelmingly by the Conference of Chief Justices this week was the latest opposition to the Streamlined Procedures Act, introduced in the Senate by Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and in the House by Dan Lungren (R-Gold River). Only the chief justice of Texas' Supreme Court voted against the resolution, according to several justices who were present.

This year, Kyl and Lungren introduced virtually identical bills in the Senate and House to remedy what they called "endless delays" between convictions in capital cases and executions.

...Critics said the legislation would sharply restrict federal courts' ability to consider petitions from state prisoners who claimed that their constitutional rights had been violated or that they had evidence that they were innocent.

In addition to the chief justices, the measure has drawn criticism from some conservative legal organizations, including the Rutherford Institute, whose president said the measure could lead to the execution of innocent people. About 50 former prosecutors and a dozen former federal judges have also weighed in against the bill.
This should put the kibosh on this bill. The best way to stop endless death-penalty appeals remains -- end the death penalty. According to the article, California has 630 people on death row--the most in the nation.

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