AG Concedes Death Penalty Could Be Changed

By Mike Parker
Aug 9, 2005, 01:14


Attorney General Vows To Change Capital Punishment System Image

(CBS) CHICAGO President Bush’s top law enforcement officer seems to be softening his hard line on capital punishment.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, who was Bush’s legal advisor during dozens of executions when Bush was Governor of Texas, conceded in Chicago on Monday, that the system can stand some improving.

The U.S. Attorney General, the man often rumored to be the president’s next choice for the U.S. Supreme Court, spoke Monday to the American Bar Association and later took issue with its stand against capital punishment.

”I believe in the death penalty,” Gonzalez said.

Just hours before, the nation’s lawyers had heard a scathing indictment of the death penalty from a member of the United States Supreme Court.

Justice John Paul Stevens told the ABA that he is disturbed by what he called “serious flaws” in the system, and by what he called the “substantial numbers of death sentences that have been imposed erroneously.”

Questioned by reporters, Attorney General Gonzalez would not agree that the system is flawed, or as former Illinois Governor George Ryan once described it, “broken,” but Gonzalez said he and President Bush think it can be changed.

“We ought to take advantage of changing technology such as DNA to ensure the fact that only the guilty are punished,” Gonzalez said.

A professor of criminal law at George Washington University said Bush and Gonzalez should see to that.

”The federal government can provide adequate resources to the states so there can be competent representation, so there can be experts, so there can be scientific evidence,” said law professor Stephen Saltzburg.

Gonzalez, who has been a hardliner on the death penalty, conceded Monday that it can be applied only if there is confidence that the system punishes the guilty, not the innocent.

He also said the accused in capital cases should be guaranteed competent legal help.

(© MMV, CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
So...just a few words from me.....and the following opinion does reflect on the owner of this site and there will be no apologies for it!
First of all, I would have posted the original link but the story wouldn't come up on it, so Axis of Logic gets the credit for posting it so that I could find it.
Next.....didn't that line from Gonzalez about put you under the table?! Who would've thought that he, of all people, believed in the death penalty??
Anyway....that wasn't the point that I started with. This is....Gonzalez doesn't believe that the system is "broken" or "flawed". He and good 'ole President Clinton think that it can be changed? I don't know about any of you out there, but these two "good 'ole boys" make me mighty nervous when they start talking about things that they don't believe are "broken" but yet they still want to change them!
You know this can only mean one thing...they believe the solution is to kill 'em quicker, speed up the appeals and give them all attorney's that received there law degrees in some foreign country. Better yet, maybe they'll just start selling law degrees to those that "defend" capital clients...that way they can be sure of the pool of lawyers that the pull from!
And, of course, they could cut down the length of the briefing that a governor gets when deciding whether or not to grant clemency. Let's see...Gonzalez gave Bush a 30 second run down on capital cases to Bush when he was governor so I guess 15 seconds seems more efficient.
How did he get elected for this term again?!?!?!