Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Culture of Death

While the rest of the civilized world long since eliminated capital punishment, Congressional Republicans want to eliminate several levels of appeals from U.S. capital cases:
For a great many capital cases, the bill would eliminate federal review entirely. Federal courts would be unable to review almost all capital convictions from states certified by the Justice Department as providing competent counsel to convicts to challenge their convictions under state procedures...

The bill...would impose onerous new procedural hurdles on inmates seeking federal review -- those, that is, whom it doesn't bar from court altogether. It would bar the courts from considering key issues raised by those cases and insulate most capital sentencing from federal scrutiny. It also would dictate arbitrary timetables for federal appeals courts to resolve habeas cases.

Fortunately, as if it wasn't obvious enough, two new stories are showing just how insane it is to cut short the appeal process.

Meet Bruce Lisker. And remember Larry Griffin.

As pointed out by the Post's editorial linked to above:
It is no exaggeration to say that if this bill becomes law, it will consign innocent people to long-term incarceration or death.

Lisker is lucky enough to still be alive in order to clear his name. Griffin's chance of that was taken away a decade ago. And the current push is to make sure more people end up with Griffin's fate. For shame.

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