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January, 2001

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1/30/01... Andrew Cuomo Confirms He'll Run for Governor...New York Times

Andrew M. Cuomo used an invitation-only party in his honor at a Fifth Avenue shoe store last night to declare — definitively — that he will run for governor of New York. His announcement sets up what is expected to be a hugely competitive Democratic primary between the son of a former governor and the state comptroller, H. Carl McCall, who is seeking to become the state's first black governor.

1/30/01... Officer, Sobbing, Recalls Secret Life of Crime...New York Times

The fear of getting caught had passed, as had the shame of pleading guilty before a federal judge to charges of armed robbery and murder conspiracy. So the only thing that remained for Anthony Trotman yesterday was to tell the tale of his startling transformation from a New York City police officer to a member of a brazen Brooklyn robbery gang.

1/29/01... U.S. Sens. Leahy, Clinton to Oppose Ashcroft . ...Reuters

Two more Senate Democrats -- Patrick Leahy, the party's ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, and Hillary Rodham Clinton -- on Monday said they would oppose John Ashcroft to be U.S. attorney general.

1/29/01... Bush Will Not Try to Reverse Clinton Pardons . ...Reuters

George W. Bush does not plan to seek to reverse any of the pardons former President Clinton granted in his last hours of office, which include one for fugitive billionaire Marc Rich, the White House said on Monday.

1/29/01... Rising Numbers Sought Pardons in Last 2 Years . ...New York Times

In the nine days since Mr. Clinton issued 176 pardons and clemency orders, attention has focused on some of the most controversial recipients, particularly Marc Rich, a fugitive billionaire who fled the country after his indictment on charges of tax evasion, fraud and racketeering. The president's power to pardon is absolute, without legal constraints, but current and former government officials said that Mr. Rich's case is just one example of how Mr. Clinton ranged further from a system whose established procedures were more closely adhered to by his predecessors.

1/28/01... Sex and Power vs. Law and Order . ...New York Times

Over the past month, in an unsettling drumbeat of incidents, police officers in Nassau and Suffolk Counties and in the town of Wallkill in Orange County have been accused of using their badges as weapons. In the most benign incidents, they are suspected of stopping women they deemed attractive. At the other extreme, several women say, officers forced them to disrobe or to perform oral sex.

1/27/01... Execution Is Stayed for Man Convicted of Killing Officer . ...New York Times

An appeals court today stayed the execution of Philip Workman to provide more time for the United States Supreme Court to consider his claim that he has new evidence.

1/25/01... Job Applicant Says Ashcroft Queried Him on Sexuality . ...Washington Post

A health care expert who applied for a top Cabinet post in Missouri's government contends then-Gov. John D. Ashcroft questioned him about his sexual orientation during a job interview, posing the query in a way that indicated he would not be hired if he were gay.

1/24/01... Senate Panel Delays Ashcroft Vote . ...Reuters

Senate Democrats, demanding more answers and extracting a measure of revenge, delayed on Wednesday the anticipated approval of John Ashcroft. On Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California became the sixth Democrat, and the first on the Judiciary Committee, to announce opposition to Ashcroft and many more are expected.

1/24/01... Trooper Unit Is Investigated in New Jersey . ...New York Times

Investigators with the New Jersey State Police are looking into allegations that a secret group of officers has been harassing and hounding troopers in an effort to silence those seen as making trouble for the force, which has been racked by accusations of racial profiling.

1/23/01... Ill. Court Sets Death Penalty Rules . ...Associated Press

The Illinois Supreme Court has set new rules to improve the state's capital punishment system, which in the past quarter century has released more death row inmates than it has executed. For example, the lead lawyer on each side must have at least five years of criminal litigation experience; previously none was required. And judges who might preside over capital cases must attend regional training seminars every two years.

1/22/01...Sleeping Lawyer Case Revisited . ...Associated Press

A Texas death-row inmate who came within minutes of being executed in 1987 was deprived of "the guiding hand of counsel'' when his lawyer slept for 10-minute stretches during his trial, a defense attorney told a federal appeals court Monday.

1/22/01... Massive Drug Sweep Divides Texas Town . ...Washington Post

Black residents had a far different reaction to the 18-month drug sting in this Panhandle prarie town, which is the focus of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and an FBI investigation ordered by the Justice Department's civil rights division.The ACLU lawsuit, filed in September, alleges that many of the cases were built on "false testimony and fabricated evidence." In a formal complaint to the Justice Department last fall, which prompted the ongoing FBI probe, the ACLU called the undercover operation "an ethnic cleansing of young male blacks from Tulia."

1/22/01... U.S. Supreme Court: Florida scars still visible . ...USA Today

Six weeks after an uneasy U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for Republican George W. Bush to become president, the scars left on the nation's highest court by the Florida election case are evident. The court's nine justices, uncomfortable with their role in such a high-stakes political contest, have remained tense with one another since the 5-4 ruling that shattered many Americans' image of the court as an institution above the partisan politicking that goes on across the street in Congress. The court has been slow to get back into its routine caseload, and justices have been meeting with each other and their staffs to try to ease any lingering bitterness and to boost morale.

1/22/01... Key to Presidential Pardon Is Access . ...Washington Post

Clinton turned loose at least a dozen low-level drug defendants who had been given long sentences with mandatory minimums. He commuted the death sentence of David Ronald Chandler, a federal prisoner convicted of plotting the murder of a police informer. Chandler's principal accuser later confessed to committing the murder himself. Many of those who benefited, however, owed their good fortune to their association with Clinton or to their ability to win access to upper echelons of the White House. The list of 176 names -- 140 pardons and 36 commuted sentences -- is packed with people with connections.

Political and Legislative News

1/20/01... In Final Act, Clinton Issues Pardons . ...Associated Press

President Clinton ended his tenure Saturday by pardoning 140 Americans, erasing the criminal records of his brother Roger, Whitewater business partner Susan McDougal and 1970s kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst in a mix of personal and historical acts of clemency.

1/20/01... President Clinton's Pardon List. ...Associated Press

A complete list of the people pardoned by President Clinton Saturday. Noticeably absent: Michael Milken, Leonard Peltier and Webster Hubbell.

1/20/01... Protesters Boo Bush Inauguration, Nine Arrested ...Reuters

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in the rain-soaked streets on Saturday to boo George W. Bush's inauguration, holding signs such as ``Hail to the Thief'' as they championed causes from abortion to electoral rights.

1/18/01... Justices Allow States to Hold Sex Predators . ...New York Times

In its latest examination of state laws that keep violent sexual predators confined beyond their criminal sentences, the Supreme Court today all but ruled out the prospect that the additional confinement could ever be challenged in federal court as double jeopardy.

1/16/01... McVeigh Execution Date Set . ...Associated Press

The government set a May 16 execution date Tuesday for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who has dropped his appeals and is apparently pinning all his hopes on winning clemency from the president.

1/16/01... Medical Marijuana Case Raises Questions About Federalism . ...CNS News

The Clinton Administration recently gained a conservative ally when the Family Research Council joined the government's case against a California medical marijuana law. The U.S. Supreme Court will examine in United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative whether federal law making marijuana illegal was intended to preempt a state's ability to make an exception for medicinal use of the drug.

1/16/01... Texas Inmate Freed After DNA Test . ...Associated Press

A man who confessed to a murder 13 years ago was freed from prison Tuesday after being cleared by DNA evidence gathered by a group of law students.

1/16/01... Attorney Urges State to Better Compensate Wrongfully Convicted . ...Associated Press

A man pardoned by former Gov. George W. Bush after DNA evidence exonerated him in a rape case sued Tyler area officials today for false arrest and imprisonment. A lawyer for Butler said he chose to come to Austin to publicize the court case because it is where Butler's pardon was issued. The attorney, Victor Bonner of Houston, also said state of Texas needs to do more to compensate people who are wrongfully imprisoned.

1/16/01... Guards Accused in Prisoner Death . ...Associated Press

The family of a French man whose struggle with jail guards was broadcast on network television is accusing the guards of beating him to death.

1/10/01... Bush Team Strategizes on Ashcroft Nomination. ...CNN News

Bush transition officials are already primed to criticize any Senate Democrat who opposes Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft before confirmation hearings are convened.

1/10/01... Drug Rehab May Not Shorten Jail Time. ...Associated Press

Nonviolent federal prisoners don't automatically qualify for shorter sentences if they get drug treatment behind bars, a divided Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

1/10/01... Police Still Profiling Minorities. ...Associated Press

Minorities made up a larger percentage of those stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike but a smaller proportion of arrests, according to new figures to be released under terms of a federal consent decree to end racial profiling.

1/10/01... Bush Choice for Labor Post Withdraws. ...New York Times

Linda Chavez, the conservative commentator whom President-elect George W. Bush had selected to be secretary of labor, withdrew her name from consideration today, saying that questions over her decision to shelter an illegal immigrant in her home in the early 1990's had made her a "distraction."

1/9/01... Inmates Can Challenge Lawyer's Work. ...Associated Press

Inmates can challenge their lawyer's work as constitutionally ineffective even if an alleged error resulted in only a small increase in their prison sentence, the Supreme Court said Tuesday.

1/9/01... Liberals To Oppose Ashcroft. ...Associated Press

Missouri Supreme Court judge Ronnie White will take the extraordinary step next week of testifying in Congress against John Ashcroft, President-elect Bush's choice to head the Justice Department.

1/9/01... US Tightens Rules on Informants. ...Boston Globe

Tough new Justice Department guidelines designed to prevent the cozy camaraderie that led to criminal charges against the star FBI agent who handled gangsters James ''Whitey'' Bulger and Stephen Flemmi will be put in place as early as today. Attorney Martin Weinberg, who represented hitman-turned-government witness John Martorano during the hearings, characterized the new guidelines as ''the most enduring and most significant consequence of the hearings.''

1/9/01... D.A. to Stop Seeking Death in Some Cases to Ease Extraditions. ...Los AngelesTimes

Los Angeles County's new district attorney has decided to forgo the death penalty and seek life sentences in some murder cases in which foreigners have fled to homelands that refuse extradition in death cases.

1/8/01... Public Lives: A Drug Warrior Who Would Rather Treat Than Fight. ...New York Times

"I doubt that I've ever seen in combat the misery such as I've encountered through watching what drug abuse does to people," said General McCaffrey, who is preparing to step down as the White House director of national drug control policy....Beginning with his Senate confirmation hearings in early 1996, the retired four-star general has likened America's drug problem to a cancer that must be treated.

1/7/01... State: He didn't do it ...St. Petersburg Times

Frank Lee Smith was the kind of guy you'd suspect of murder. He lived near the scene and had killed before. All it took to put him on Florida's death row was a malleable witness, a hard charging cop and an ambitious prosecutor. The only problem ...

1/7/01... Religious Right Made Big Push to Put Ashcroft in Justice Dept. ...New York Times

Within days of Senator John Ashcroft of Missouri's narrow re-election defeat by a candidate who died three weeks before Election Day, religious and conservative leaders began promoting him for a major position in a Bush administration.

1/7/01... Spraying Program Hurts Colombia's Small Farmers ...Washington Post

Colombia's mammoth anti-drug campaign, backed by more than $1 billion of U.S. military and social development aid, has entered a new punitive phase of aerial spraying that is killing fields of coca as well as the legal crops of farmers here in the country's most bountiful drug-growing region.

1/7/01... American's Death Puts Focus on Mexican Jails ...New York Times

While visiting this dusty, bustling border town in September, James Willis Abell was jailed on drug charges and later beaten to death in a Mexican prison. The authorities have charged five men, including a prison guard, with his murder.

1/7/01...Murder Verdict Thrown Out After 32 Years ...Associated Press

A former bookie who served more than 32 years for an underworld murder he said he did not commit has been released from prison after his conviction was thrown out at the request of prosecutors.

1/6/01...Court Reinstates Charges Against Troopers in Shooting ...New York Times

An appeals court revived the most explosive case in New Jersey's racial profiling controversy Friday, reinstating criminal charges against two state troopers accused of shooting three minority men on the New Jersey Turnpike two years ago.

1/6/01...Fla. Judge: Convict Unsafe in Prison ...Associated Press

A judge refused to send a drug offender to prison, saying the man would be a target for sexual assault because he is thin and white. The judge said such a sentence would amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

1/5/01...After Criticism of Street Frisk Records, Police Expand Report Form ...New York Times

As part of what it described as an effort to advance community relations, the Police Department began using new forms yesterday that require officers to provide more detailed explanations for the decision to stop and search a citizen on the street.

1/4/01...Bush Sticking With Freeh ...Associated Press

Sticking with Clinton appointees, President-elect Bush wants FBI Director Louis Freeh to finish the last two years of his term and sought a brief extension for CIA Director George Tenet, advisers said Thursday.

1/3/01...McCaffrey Advocates Drug Prevention ...Associated Press

The longtime rallying cry of a ''war on drugs'' to describe the effort to curtail illegal drug use in the United States has become 'misleading'' the White House drug policy director says. A more accurate comparison is to the fight against cancer -- ''Prevention coupled with treatment accompanied by research,'' Barry McCaffrey said in his final report on America's drug problem.

1/3/01...Okla. Death Row Inmate Gets Reprieve ...Associated Press

A day before he was scheduled to die, Oklahoma inmate Robert Clayton won a 30-day reprieve Wednesday so DNA tests can be performed on misplaced evidence from the crime scene.

1/2/01...2nd Man Released from La. Death Row ...Associated Press

A man convicted of killing an elderly couple 14 years ago was released Tuesday, joining his alleged accomplice in freedom after DNA tests pointed to their innocence.

1/2/01...Immigrants Left Out In the Cold ...Washington Post

Tens of thousands of immigrants, many of whom have lived in the U.S. for a decade, may face new threats of deportation following new laws put into effect last month.

1/1/01...Jackson To Campaign Against Ashcroft ...Associated Press

Civil rights groups will publicly confront Democratic senators and demand that they vote against their former Republican colleague, John Ashcroft, for attorney general, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson said Monday.

1/01/01...Effort Against Judge May Return to Haunt Ashcroft ...Washington Post

Sen. John D. Ashcroft (R-Mo.) led the fight to kill Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ronnie White's nomination for a federal judgeship. Now liberals hope White – and the saga of his unusual Senate defeat – can at least bruise Ashcroft's nomination for attorney general.

1/01/01...U.S. Signs Treaty on War Crimes Tribunal ...Washington Post

Over the objections of conservatives and the Pentagon, the United States signed a treaty yesterday that would create the first permanent international court designed to try people accused of genocide, war crimes and other crimes against humanity.

Upcoming Events

The TalkLeft Calendar - Plan to Attend, Watch or Listen!

National Anti-Ashcroft Rallies .... Wednesday, January 31, 2001, 12:00 p.m., Local Times.

On WEDNESDAY, January 31, at 12 pm local time, local residents will gather at the District Offices of the listed Senators, or the closest Federal Building. Please log on to volunteer to be a coordinator or to attend. The full senate vote is scheduled for February 1, 2001 at 1:00 p.m .

The Nation's Counter-Inauguration Calendar .... January 13 - January 20, 2001

Keep in touch with the many protest events, marches, rallies and vigils planned in Washington, DC and other cities and towns around the US with The Nation's Counter-Inauguration Calendar

Senate Judiciary Hearings on U.S. Attorney General Nomination .... Tuesday, January 16, 2001

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary will begin its hearings on the nomination of Senator John Ashcroft to be the Attorney General of the United States on Tuesday, January 16, 2001, at 1:30 p.m. in the Judiciary Committee hearing room SH-216. Hearings will continue day-to-day, subject to the call of the chair. Chairman Leahy will preside.

Prison Diaries: NPR's All Things Considered .... aired on NPR Radio, Tuesdays, January, 2001

For six months during the past year, five inmates, four correctional officers and a judge used tape recorders to keep audio journals. The diarists recorded the sounds and scenes of everyday life behind bars: shakedowns, new inmate arrivals, roll call, monthly family visits, meals at the chow hall, and quiet moments late at night inside a cell. Prison Diaries takes place inside two correctional facilities: Polk Youth Institution in Butner, NC and the Rhode Island Training School (for juveniles) in Cranston, RI. More than 245 hours of raw tape have been edited into five half-hour documentaries

Press Conference to Oppose Ashcroft as Attorney General .... January 9, 2001, Washington, D.C.

An unprecedented, broad based coalition of organizations opposed to the nomination of U.S. Attorney General-Designate John Ashcroft will hold a press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 9 at 10 a.m. in the East Room of the Mayflower Hotel at 1127 Connecticut Ave. NW.

Congress Today

This week's schedule for the House and Senate, including Committee Meetings

The first session of the 107th session will convene in at 12:00pm ET/9:00am PT on Wednesday, January 3, 2001. Congress will meet in Joint Session on Friday, January 5, for the purpose of counting electoral votes. The President's State of the Union address is scheduled for Saturday, January 20.

Action Alerts

1/23/01... Wellstone Announces Opposition to Ashcroft . ...Common Dreams News Center

“Today I am announcing, after reviewing his record as a Senator and as a public official in Missouri, that I intend to oppose former Senator Ashcroft for Attorney is his record of insensitivity to minority rights, including those of racial minorities; and his mishandling of certain nominations that is most troubling. Senator Ashcroft’s handling of certain presidential nominations, particularly his gross distortions of the record of Ronald White as a federal judge, and his efforts to block gay nominee James Hormel as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, are troubling."

NACDL Resolution Opposing John Ashcroft as Attorney General

Resolution of the National Associaton of Criminal Defense Lawyers opposing the nomination of John Ashcroft as Attorney General of the United States

Sign Petition Opposing John Ashcroft as Attorney General - More information about John Ashcroft

Renee Boje: U.S. Drug War Refugee Seeks Support

Canadian justices will rule in the coming year whether to return Renee Boje to America to face a mandatory 10-year prison sentence for being present at a medical marijuana grow operation, or whether to grant her political asylum in response to the severity of America's cannabis laws. She fled the U.S. in 1998, at the advice of her lawyer. Renee Boje is asking her fellow American citizens to urge Canada to grant her petition for refugee status.

Action Alert, Stop the Execution of the Innocent

Federal Grand Jury Reform Report

Read the proposed Grand Juror's Bill of Rights--then contact your elected officials and urge passage!

Legislative Updates

H.R. 17: Younger Americans Act

Introduced in Congress January 3, 2001, H.R. 17, The Younger Americans Act, will help coordinate and fund youth-mentoring, community service through volunteerism, structured academic and recreational opportunities, and other activities aimed at fostering the positive educational and social development of teens and pre-teens.

Text of Oregon's Measure 3: Requiring Conviction Before Forfeiture

On November 7, 2000, Oregon voters approved an amendment to the Oregon Constitution, requiring conviction before forfeiture of assets. Please try to get a legislator in your state to introduce it in the next legislative session.

Current Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties Bills in Congress

Tips from the A.C.L.U. for Meeting with Your Elected Officials

Text of S. 2463, the National Death Penalty Moratorium Act of 2000

To institute a moratorium on the imposition of the death penalty at the Federal and State level until a National Commission on the Death Penalty studies its use and policies ensuring justice, fairness, and due process are implemented.

Text of S. 2073, the Innocence Protection Act

The advent of DNA testing raises serious concerns regarding the prevalence of wrongful convictions. The Innocence Protection Act will ensure that wrongfully convicted persons have an opportunity to establish their innocence through DNA testing.

Barry Scheck's Senate Judiciary Committee Testimony on Post-Conviction DNA Testing

Op-Ed Columns

TalkLeft's pick of current and thought-provoking Op-Ed Articles

1/29/01... New Model in Capital Crime Cases...Los Angeles Times

In any capital case, no matter how carefully conducted, mistakes can occur. The availability of DNA testing and aggressive efforts in a number of states to review shaky convictions have found evidence leading to the exoneration and release of several long-term death row inmates. These post-conviction reversals shine welcome light on the trial process in capital cases nationwide. The most egregious error--wrongful conviction--is made at trial, and that's where states, California among them, should build in better safeguards. The Illinois Supreme Court adopted a number of useful new rules in this regard in a report issued last week; they merit review by California judges.

1/28/01... The Battle Over Mr. Ashcroft, New York Times Editorial

With John Ashcroft's nomination for attorney general heading for a vote at the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, the doubts about his qualifications are growing stronger. This makes it all the more important for Senate Democrats to stand united. Opponents do not now have the votes to reject his nomination, but it is essential to demonstrate with as many votes as possible that Mr. Ashcroft cannot convert the Justice Department into a place of hostility to civil liberties and the rights of women, minorities and gays.

1/27/01... What Ashcroft Did, by Anthony Lewis, New York Times

Even some conservatives are embarrassed now by the way Senator John Ashcroft killed the nomination of Ronnie White to be a federal judge. He told his Republican colleagues that Judge White, of the Missouri Supreme Court, had shown "a tremendous bent toward criminal activity." It was a baseless smear. But it was not just dirty politics. It was dangerous, in a way that casts doubt on Senator Ashcroft's fitness to be attorney general.

1/23/01... Filibuster! Extreme Nominees Call for Extreme Measures . ...Thomas K. Lowenstein, American Prospect

A filibuster on a cabinet confirmation would be apparently unprecedented -- and the Senate's Democratic Minority Leader Tom Daschle announced this weekend that he would not support such a move. But extreme nominees call for extreme means.

1/23/01... John Ashcroft Should Be Rejected As Attorney General, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial

It was not in the United States' best interests for George W. Bush, the incoming president who vowed to unite the country after a bruising and narrowly decided election, to nominate for attorney general a man of such extreme beliefs as John Ashcroft of Missouri.

1/21/01... Beware Bush's American Dream; This President is Not to Be Trusted, London Observer

The Observer considers Mr. Bush's election an affront to the democratic principle with incalculable consequences for America and the world. Mr Bush's inaugural attempt to assert his brand of one-nation, compassionate conservatism is bluster and hogwash. He has acted from the moment Al Gore conceded as if he had won a wholehearted mandate.But the Bush cabinet is neither centrist nor compassionate. In home affairs, it is brutalist and reactionary

2/5/01... None Dare Call it Vincent Bugliosi, The Nation

That an election for an American President can be stolen by the highest court in the land under the deliberate pretext of an inapplicable constitutional provision has got to be one of the most frightening events ever to have occurred in this country.

1/18/01... Senate Caves in to Congeniality Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe

WITH REPUBLICANS in an open bearhug and Democrats bent over as jockey lanterns, the US Senate is doing much more than confirming John Ashcroft as attorney general. It has reconfirmed that its beacon does not burn in the interest of justice. It is not here to heal a nation gashed by a presidential election where the winner lost in the broad daylight of the popular vote but won in the much dimmer backrooms of Tallahassee.

1/9/01...Ashcroft's Flirtations with the Racist Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe

THE CUDDLY, obsequious warmth between John Ashcroft and the racist right is quite up front in his 1998 interview with Southern Partisan, a journal that glorifies the Confederacy and views people of color as mosquitos swarming onto the veranda to ruin the evening's mint julep... When Ashcroft says the traditionalists must do more, America should tremble. The nomination is so perverted, it should follow the final path of his Confederate heroes. It should be driven off in a scorched-earth campaign.

1/9/01...Linda Chavez' Fall from Jill Nelson, MSNBC

Score one for the politics of personal destruction: But what about Ashcroft?

1/8/01...Far, Far from the Bob Herbert, New York Times

John Ashcroft, Linda Chavez and Gale Norton are peculiar picks from a man who was expected to govern largely from the center, and who billed himself as a uniter, not a divider.

1/6/01...Out of Sight Anthony Lewis, New York Times

Senator Ashcroft scorned a drug treatment policy that has the support of men as conservative as Strom Thurmond and Bob Barr. His position, on this as on so many issues, was out of sight on the far right of our politics.

1/4/01...Fairness for Whom Bob Herbert, New York Times

We keep hearing that George W. Bush's choice for attorney general, John Ashcroft, is a man of honor, a stalwart when it comes to matters of principle and integrity.Spare me. The allegedly upright Mr. Ashcroft revealed himself as a shameless and deliberately destructive liar in 1999.

1/3/01...The Death Penalty's Days Are Numbered Robert Jay Lifton and Greg Mitchell, Los Angeles Times

The prevailing wisdom--thatAmerica is fiercely in favor of executions--is dead wrong. You'd never know it from the views expressed by most political figures and media pundits, but many Americans are uncomfortable with the notion of the state as killer, and this number increases with every death row inmate released when new evidence establishes his innocence. Most Americans now prefer another method to punish the wrongdoer and protect society: life without parole.

1/2/01...Wrong Place for Ashcroft Richard Cohen, Washington Post

Bush seems to have forgotten that he did not win the popular vote, and he did not -- you and I know in our bones -- win the electoral college vote, either. He won because a bare majority of the Supreme Court wanted him to be president ....Ashcroft is Bush's gift to the GOP right wing. Fine, but put him somewhere he can't do any damage. Justice is not the place. ... Ever since Election Day, Bush has proceeded as if he were president by divine right. Ashcroft is evidence of that delusion. He is the choice of a man who does not yet know his own limitations, who sees a single vote in the Supreme Court as a landslide, who cannot or will not appreciate that he must earn his mandate after he takes his oath of office, not before. With the nomination of John Ashcroft to be attorney general, Bush fulfilled his promise to the GOP's right wing. In doing so, he broke the promise he had made to the rest of us.

Current Op-Ed Pieces - Searchable Compilation from Major Newspapers

Investigative Reporting

January, 2001...Why Did Ashcroft Try to Help Dr. Sell, By Joe Conasen, New York Observer

During his long political career, tough John Ashcroft has rarely, if ever, spoken out on behalf of the rights of criminal defendants. But there’s at least one criminal defendant for whom Mr. Ashcroft—now awaiting confirmation as U.S. Attorney General—has demonstrated real concern. That would be Dr. Charles T. Sell, a St. Louis dentist indicted by the Justice Department on charges that include conspiracy to murder an F.B.I. agent and a federal witness. While serving as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Ashcroft made several inquiries to the Justice Department on behalf of the dentist, according to Gordon Baum, head of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a militant white racialist group headquartered in Missouri, and the Post-Dispatch.

January, 2001...Get Ronnie White, Round 2, By Eric Boehlert, Salon Magazine

In their battle for Attorney General-designate John Ashcroft, Republicans are once again attacking the Missouri Supreme Court justice whose federal judgeship Ashcroft scuttled

January , 2001...Life in the Killing Zone, By Jocelyn Stuart, LA Times

Take a look at the sad statistics of the southeast police division, the deadliest neighborhood in Los Angeles. Now look again. While some are killing each other, others are working, raising kids and building dreams.

January 7, 2001...Life in the Killing Zone, By Jocelyn Stuart, LA Times

Take a look at the sad statistics of the southeast police division, the deadliest neighborhood in Los Angeles. Now look again. While some are killing each other, others are working, raising kids and building dreams.

January 4, 2001...The Bush Files., MoJo Wire

Sniffing out alternative, underreported,and independent news, views, and resources on Election 2000 and the newly formed Bush adminsitration. Updated throughout the day Monday through Friday.

January 1, 2001...Indictment of A System by John Gibeaut, ABA Journal

Grand jurors and judges are shining some light on prosecutorial abuses that go on behind closed doors. Defense lawyers say the problems show it's time for reform.

January 8, 2001...Forward Into Battle: Right Turn: Lauded by conservatives, Ashcroft faces a fight from the left by Michael Isakoff,Bill Turque, Newsweek

John Ashcroft knew how to bring the crowd to its feet. He finished his speech to the 1998 South Carolina Republican Party Convention by holding up two pictures of his grandson: one a sonogram of a fetus, the other a photo of the newborn infant. “If the Supreme Court had seen these pictures, had known about this 25 years ago, would they have said it was OK to destroy this grandson of mine?” he said, as the audience roared.

Sound Bytes

Political Cartoons

Doonesbury and New York Times Cartoons

Daily Selection From Around the Country

Hot Reads

Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution and Other Dispatches from the Wrongly Convicted by Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld, Jim Dwyer. Reads like a novel but much scarier because it's all true. A page-turner!

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