June 28, 2007

Gonzales on the Death Penalty

He is for it. And how.

I heard story on NPR last night and listened to it again this morning. TPMmuckraker has more.

Here is the story. One of the US Attorneys fired by Gonzo for "insubordination" testified before congress about his experiences. Paul Charlton was the attorney and he was prosecuting a drug dealer who was charged with killing his supplier. Charlton had a good case against the man, but no body. He knows where the body is buried, but it would cost between 500 thou and a million to exume the body from the landfill. Justice refused. Charlton decided to not pursue the death penalty because of that. He wasn't going to let the man walk, mind you, but decided not to go for execution.

Gonzales overruled him. Overruled the guy with the most knowledge of the case--the guy who is not anti-death penalty--the guy who had years of experience. And did so, mind you, in a 5-10 minute conversation. That was the time devoted to ascertaining whether this drug dealer should live or die--5 to 10 minutes.

I oppose the death penalty for many, many reasons. But this is one of the most visible problems with the process. When a political hack like Gonzales decides death penalty cases purely for political reasons, the system is broken. And clearly in this case, it was broken exactly as the President and VP want it broken. Innocence or possible innocence means nothing to them--be it with an Iraqi in a prison cell somewhere or a possible murderer in Arizona.

This isn't justice.

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