Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Republicans want to speed up death penalty|
Republicans in Congress have launched a new effort to speed up executions in the United States by limiting the ability of those sentenced to death to appeal to federal courts.I guess protecting innocent life only counts for fetuses and people in permanent vegetative states.
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 (news, bio, voting record), 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.
A study headed by Columbia University statistician and political scientist Andrew Gelman of all 5,826 death sentences imposed in the United States between 1973 and 1995 found that 68 per cent were reversed on appeal.
The most common reasons were "egregiously incompetent lawyering, prosecutorial misconduct or suppression of evidence, misintruction of jurors or biased judges or jurors," said the study published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.
Federal courts examining habeas corpus appeals overturned 40 percent of the cases that had previously been upheld by state appeals courts -- a fact the authors called worrisome.