From the LA Times: Gonzales could get say in states’ executions – Los Angeles Times
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.
The majority of Americans do not trust Bush Administration, and we trust Gonzales even less. To grant them this power, in this matter, is unthinkable.
I have been opposed to the Death Penalty since the fifth grade. Not coincidentally, this attitude shift occurred when my father tore every single possible argument I had to be pro death penalty to pieces. I was thirteen and on the receiving end of all of, what i thought was his lawyerly skill. To say that it left an impression would be an understatement.
If you believe in the Death Penalty, then you damn well better believe in following the Constitution. This document, a document that defines the nation, guarantees that all citizens receive due process of law before being executed. At minimum, this means adequate counsel, the ability to confront witnesses, put on evidence and the right to appeal. That takes time.
Of all of these rights, what is the most important is the right to appeal. As we have learned in Illinois, the Death penalty system is flawed. Evidence is overlooked, hidden or “lost.” Jurors are given bad instructions–instead of being told to consider Life without the Possibility of Parole, they are told Death is the only option–and police and prosecutors, on occasion, cheat.
These new special powers gut this right. It guts what little due process exists in the death penalty system. These powers are unnecessary and unconstitutional. I would give damn near anything to watch my dad tear Gonzo a new asshole as he explained why the death penalty, and Gonzo’s extra-constitutional powers are a full blown detriment to the county. Once Gonzo was sufficiently intellectually destroyed, I would hope my dad would would further illustrate his displeasure by beating the tar out of him.