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Please Notice, Congress


I am very tired of reading articles like this one from the Los Angeles Times that contain the phrase “little-noticed provision in last year’s reauthorization of the Patriot Act:”

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.

Under the rules now being prepared, if a state requested it and Gonzales agreed, prosecutors could use “fast track” procedures that could shave years off the time that a death row inmate has to appeal to the federal courts after conviction in a state court

Hello, Judiciary Committee members and Congresspersons in general? Could you please notice provisions that give far-reaching new powers to the Attorney General?

If it wouldn’t be too much to ask.

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