Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Gonzales could get say in states' executions

Proposed rules would let the attorney general sign off on 'fast tracking' death penalty appeals.

By Richard B. Schmitt, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 14, 2007

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is putting the final touches on regulations that could give Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales important new sway over death penalty cases in California and other states, including the power to shorten the time that death row inmates have to appeal convictions to federal courts.

The rules implement a little-noticed provision in last year's reauthorization of the Patriot Act that gives the attorney general the power to decide whether individual states are providing adequate counsel for defendants in death penalty cases. The authority has been held by federal judges.

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