Friday, August 17, 2007

Judge, Jury and Executioner ... or ... Son, we're gonna give you a fair trial ... and then we'll hang you.

Gonzales to Get Power In Death Penalty Cases
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.
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.
Some Democratic lawmakers have questioned Gonzales's judgment about the death penalty, including his refusal to hear the concerns of a federal prosecutor in Arizona, Paul K. Charlton, who argued against pursuing a death sentence in a case in which no body had been recovered.

Charlton and several other U.S. attorneys were fired last year in part because of clashes with Gonzales and his aides over death penalty issues, according to documents and testimony.
Why, why, why would a prosecutor EVER be given the right to 'fast track' killing someone? The system of justice in this country is based on an adversarial process. DAs try to convict, defense attorneys try to acquit/mitigate and judges and jurys decide.

Not to mention that when Gonzo previously had the job of clemency petitions for then Governor Bush he constantly left out exculpatory evidence.

And with Gonzos' help Bush executed more people in America than any other natural born killer. I guess that's why they call them 'texacutions.'

And Bush's callousness involving killing folks is documented, just ask Karla Faye Tucker ... oh, that's right you can't, she's dead.

And it's not like a 'fast track' doesn't already exist:
Courts are restricted from hearing new evidence due to a 1996 federal law, intended to limit the number of appeals in death penalty cases and thereby expedite executions.

So enough of my rant, let's look at some numbers:
two out of three sentences were overturned on appeal, mostly because of serious errors by incompetent defense lawyers or overzealous police officers and prosecutors who withheld evidence.
75 percent of the people whose death sentences were set aside were later given lesser sentences after retrials, in plea bargains or by order of a judge. An additional 7 percent were found not guilty on retrial.

Cross posted at VidiotSpeak