Rush to judgment
That Patriot Act is yielding all sorts of exquisite little provisions:
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.That Gonzales would be or even could be concerned that "adequate council" is provided to defendants is risible. If anything, Gonzales would come down on the side of providing less council, not more, as his term as Texas Governor Bush's executioner so plainly demonstrated. There couldn't possibly be a more inappropriate candidate for receiving fast track powers over death penalty cases.
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.