Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fast track

The LAT finds another unnoticed provision of the renewal of the Patriot Act: the authority to decide whether prisoners in death-penalty cases received adequate counsel is no longer held by federal judges, but by Alberto Gonzales, who in his own person epitomizes the words inadequate counsel. The Justice Dept is also writing new regulations designed to speed up executions, by, for example, reducing the time limit for filing in federal court after state appeals have been exhausted, from 12 months to 6, and limit the time judges could take deciding on petitions. It sounds like states would have to opt in to this “fast track” procedure, but I think we can all imagine the campaign ads against any politician who opposed opting in.

Yes, by all means let’s bring the entire country’s judicial standards down to those of Texas, the “cowboy gulag,” as Molly Ivins called it..

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