Republicans Try to Speed Up Death Penalty
Republicans have introduced a bill to speed up the death penalty by limiting habeas appeals.
The "Streamlined Procedures Act of 2005," introduced into the House of Representatives by California Rep. Dan Lungren and in the Senate by Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, would limit the ability of defendants facing the death sentence to have their cases reviewed by federal courts in what are known as habeas corpus appeals.
...Virginia Rep. Bobby Scott, the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee considering the bill, conceded there was little chance of blocking it in the House. "The House has been very supportive of anything that would strip the innocent of a fair hearing. This bill will ensure that more innocent people will be put to death," he said in a telephone interview.
This is a** backwards. One of the principal reasons death penalty appeals take so long is that people languish on death row for years before a lawyer is appointed to represent them. If we raised the compensation levels and provided adeqate expense money for forensic testing and experts, more qualified lawyers would volunteer to defend death cases on appeal and in habeas proceedings and they wouldn't last so long.
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