This just in from the ABA. What do you think about this?
ABA OUTLINES CONCERNS WITH FEDERAL HABEAS LITIGATION IN DEATH PENALTY CASES
House Testimony Lists Three Top Priorities for Congress and Administration
A full copy of the testimony is posted HERE
Emphasizing that “we know with certainty that defendants have been, and will be, wrongfully convicted of capital crimes,” and that “states have failed to ensure that capital defendants are provided with competent legal representation and fair trials,” the American Bar Association called for reforms of the federal capital litigation system.
In yesterday’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, the ABA reinforced that “a dedicated, institutionalized federal commitment to effective capital representation is more important than ever,” and emphasized the importance of “all assurances of effective and fully funded legal representation, appropriate judicial review and necessary procedures to protect the innocent.”
The testimony was given by ABA Death Penalty Moratorium Project Committee Chair Steven F. Hanlon. In his statement, Hanlon cited three broad reforms for Congress and the administration to quickly undertake:
- Suspend all federal executions pending a thorough data collection and analysis of racial and geographic disparities and the adequacy of legal representation in the death penalty system;
- Create an institutionalized federal commitment to fund defender organizations that provide state trial and post-conviction representation and are independent of the judiciary in every capital jurisdiction; and
- Amend the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 so that prisoners have better access to federal court review, eliminate the requirement of federal courts to defer to state court decisions, and eliminate or revise the USA PATRIOT Act amendments to restore the appropriate role of federal courts in the opt-in certification process.