Some things just should not be made more efficient.

Posted by admin
Aug 15 2007

The death penalty, as one example, clearly fits this bill.

Gonzales to Get Power In Death Penalty Cases (Washington Post):
Rules Would Expand Fast-Track Authority

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, under political siege for his handling of the U.S. attorney firings and other issues, is to get expanded powers to hasten death penalty cases under regulations being developed by the Justice Department.

The rules would give Gonzales the authority to approve “fast-track” procedures by states in death penalty cases, enabling them to carry out sentences more speedily and with fewer opportunities for appeal if those states provide adequate representation for capital defendants.

Such powers were previously held by federal judges, but a provision of the USA Patriot Act reauthorization bill approved by Congress last year hands the authority to the attorney general.

Under the regulations, death row inmates would have six months, instead of a year, to file appeals in the federal courts, and federal judges would have less time to consider petitions in capital cases.

The proposed changes, reported yesterday by the Los Angeles Times, would hand new authority to Gonzales as leading Democrats and some Republicans have called for his resignation and questioned his truthfulness. Earlier this month, Congress gave Gonzales greater powers in overseeing the government’s warrantless wiretapping program.

The leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), asked Gonzales in a letter sent earlier this month to delay implementing the new death penalty rules until October at the earliest, “to guarantee adequate representation of death row prisoners before certification occurs.”

If our states and nation insist on having a death penalty for crimes, they better make damn well certain that every aspect of a conviction is thoroughly examined and considered between throwing those switches.

This isn’t so much about the person who committed the crime. It’s more about maintaining our integrity as a nation that professes to stand for liberty and justice, due process, and equal justice under the law. Executing those who are found out to have been innocent of committing a crime, even if as rare as hen’s teeth, completely violates that principle.

Add to that how the current Attorney General has a penchant for refusing to offer any information on almost anything he does at the Justice Department, and we have mapped a path for our nation to add summary executions to secret trials based on secret evidence. I’m not ready to see our nation go that route. Not now. Not ever.

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