CUADP: Dan Rather: “Did Texas Execute Innocent Men?”, 9-4

[CUADPUpdate] Dan Rather Reports – "Did Texas Execute Innocent Men?"
Tuesday, Sept 4
Hello All,
Don’t forget to thank a labor unionist for the weekend you just
completed.  Unions brought us safer working conditions, the five day
work week and the 8 hour work day, benefits, pensions, and the right
to seek redress to grievances in the work place….  anyway….  I
forward several items of interest – have an excellent week!
–abe
*******
DID TEXAS EXECUTE INNOCENT MEN?  DAN RATHER REPORTS INVESTIGATES
 SIGNIFICANT
FLAWS IN TWO TEXAS DEATH PENALTY CASES
DAN RATHER REPORTS Examines the Death Penalty Cases of Ruben Cantu and
Carlos De Luna, September 4 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Dallas, TX (August 29, 2007) – Next Tuesday’s DAN RATHER REPORTS will
 reveal
new details surrounding two capital murder cases in Texas – leading to the
executions of two men that may have occurred as the result of flawed
evidence.  The episode airs on Tuesday, September 4 at 8:00 p.m. on HDNet.
A clip of the program can be viewed at the following link:
http://www.hd.net/drr229
In "Did Texas Execute Innocent Men?" Dan Rather speaks with key players in
the cases of both Ruben Cantu and Carlos De Luna both of whom died by
 lethal
injection in Texas where more than one-third of the nation’s executions
 take
place.
Ruben Cantu was never convicted of a crime before the November 1984 murder
case that led to his execution in 1993.  In his investigation, Dan Rather
speaks with former San Antonio district attorney Sam Millsap who
 originally
sought the death penalty for Cantu but now believes he made a mistake.
Rather also speaks with principal investigators in the case and
eyewitnesses, who expose serious discrepancies in the evidence that
ultimately led to the execution of Cantu, who was only 17 at the time of
 his
arrest.
DAN RATHER REPORTS also investigates the 1989 execution of Carlos De Luna,
whose conviction relied on uncertain eyewitness testimony.  No physical
evidence was ever found linking De Luna to the murder for which he was
convicted, and for the first time on television, the private investigator
who scrutinized the case discloses new information which could have
exonerated De Luna 17 years ago.
Were Cantu and De Luna innocent and wrongly executed?  Rather delves into
these gripping cases on DAN RATHER REPORTS, Tuesday, September 4 on HDNet
 at
8:00 pm. ET.  The program also airs at 11:00 pm ET, to accommodate West
 Coast
prime time television.
About HDNet
Launched in 2001 by Mark Cuban and General Manager Philip Garvin, the
 HDNet
networks are available on AT&T, Bright House Networks, Charter
Communications, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Insight, Mediacom, Time Warner
 Cable,
Verizon and more than 40 NCTC cable affiliate companies.  For more
information visit www.hd.net.
/ / / / /
  Rwanda: Kagame Encourages Other Countries to Abolish the Death Penalty
  <http://www.hirondelle.org/>Hirondelle News Agency (Lausanne)
  The Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, encouraged other countries to
follow the example of his country, as he received Thursday in Rome,
Italy, an award for the abolition of the death penalty.
———-
  Rwanda is the first country of the African Great Lakes Region to
have abolished the death penalty.
 
/ / / / / / / /
Patriot Act Revision Gives A-G Power on Death Row
 From the radio newsmagazine
Between The Lines
http://www.btlonline.org
Between the Lines Q&A
A weekly column featuring progressive viewpoints on
national and international issues
under-reported in mainstream media for release Aug.
29, 2007
  USA Patriot Act Revision Gives U.S. Attorney General
New Power
on Death Row Federal Appeals
Interview with Richard Dieter,executive director,The
Death Penalty Information Center,conducted by Melinda
Tuhus
Editor’s note: This interview was recorded before
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ resignation.
One of the revisions in the USA Patriot Act
reauthorized by Congress in 2006 moves the
decision-making power about whether a death row inmate
has received adequate legal representation for a
federal
appeal from the courts to the U.S. attorney general.
It also reduces the time allotted for appeals,
effectively increasing the chances of innocent people
being executed.
The legislation was passed and signed into law by
President Bush,and implementation regulations are now
being written. There is a public comment period, in
which some of the regulations could be modified, but
the role of the U.S. attorney general can only
be changed by another act of Congress.  The number of
people executed annually has dropped about 40 percent
— from 99 in 1998 to 53 last year. The number of
people sentenced to death by states has also declined.
But, under the Bush administration
the number of federal death row inmates has increased.
Overall, 3,300 people are now sitting on death row.
Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus spoke with Richard
Dieter, executive director of
the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington,
D.C. He explains how the law will work and what the
impact is likely to be on prisoners facing execution.
RICHARD DIETER: The part of the appeals that will be
speeded up are the federal appeals of your state case.
You usually have a state appeal and then you can check
the federal courts to look over the constitutional
issues and it’s the federal part that
is going to be speeded up by this. It’s giving the fox
control over the chicken coop.
BETWEEN THE LINES: So what do you think the impact
will be?
RICHARD DIETER: Just to give you an idea, the
anti-terrorism law I mentioned earlier has been in
effect for ten years, and no state has completely
satisfied the good lawyer requirements,as determined
by the courts, so clearly the states aren’t providing
good representation. Now the attorney general is going
to decide whether those states are doing okay; we
expect that a lot of those states could be approved
very quickly and executions would
speed up.
BETWEEN THE LINES: I read that one reason Congress
wanted to pass this law was to equalize the treatment
of death penalty appeals across the different appeals
courts around the country, because right now the
outcomes are vastly different, ranging from about two
percent to about a third of appeals being accepted.
Do you accept that rationale?
RICHARD DIETER: That may be part of the goal, although
the attorney general only has so much power. But it
does put restrictions on all the courts — all the
federal courts, the district courts and the circuit
courts — all have to act within a much shorter period
of time. It’s not just that the lawyers will have to
file things more quickly — which they will, if this
is approved — but the judges will have to decide the
federal appeals, so
you can’t take as much time to review them or maybe
have as many hearings. You’re not required to decide a
certain percent one way or the other, but with less
time, I think the pressure is to move these cases
along, to confirm what the states did in approving the
death penalty and the conviction, and the judge
will have only a limited amount of time. So I think it
will result in fewer reversals by the federal courts
just because they’ll have less time to review these
cases.
BETWEEN THE LINES: I noticed that the American Bar
Association spoke out against this provision when it
was moving through Congress.I’ve never thought of the
ABA as a particularly radical group.
RICHARD DIETER: Right. I mean, the American Bar
Association’s main concern is with due process,
certainly the quality of representation provided by
lawyers. They’ve insisted you have to have good
lawyers for trial, and good lawyers for the appeals.
And there was at least some protection in the old law
that there would be good lawyers for the appeals if
you want these appeals to go fast, and the courts
would judge whether you’ve got good lawyers. And these
are all neutral observers in the system. But
now to say that the prosecutor will decide whether
you’ve got good lawyers is a strange step indeed a
conflict of interest,to begin with. Prosecutors want
the death penalty. Alberto Gonzales…to be in the
hands of just one person, who happens to have
been Gov. Bush’s legal counsel on death penalty
matters in Texas, where they had so many executions.
So, clearly, this is a pro-death penalty, not a
neutral observer that the courts were supposed to be.
BETWEEN THE LINES: I suppose it’s possible with a
different administration, that there might be an
attorney general who’s not in favor of the death
penalty.
RICHARD DIETER: That’s correct. That’s exactly right,
but I think that just underscores the fact that this
is the wrong place for the decision to be made,
because sometimes you’ll have a pro-death penalty
attorney general, sometimes anti. You know, that’s not
what should determine whether a state has
good lawyers defending death penalty clients. That’s
an objective determination, not a political
determination. The attorney general’s office is
clearly a political office, which will rise and fall
or sway back and forth with elections. And this is why
we have our courts and our independent federal
judiciary and lifetime appointments, etc., so people
can make decisions based on the facts and not on their
particular persuasion on the death penalty.
BETWEEN THE LINES: And with DNA testing now available,
it seems like the chances of someone being proven not
guilty in a death penalty case — if there was time to
go through that process might be short-circuited.
BETWEEN THE LINES: Absolutely. We’ve kept track of the
people who’ve had their convictions reversed and been
freed from death row. There’s 124 such people. Those
cases took an average of nine years, so if you cut the
appeals process down to, say, five years, a lot of
those cases would have been missed. They simply
would have been executed before new facts had time to
ripen, before courts had a chance to do all the
testing or new witnesses to come forward. Faster
appeals means more mistakes — I think
that’s a high probability. And that’s what this is all
about; it’s not just about who makes decisions, but
how fast a person has to raise any issues and perhaps
show that they were mistakenly convicted. We know that
can happen; DNA has shown it in the cases
that DNA is available, but there are a lot of cases
where DNA is not available, and those are just as
likely to have a mistake.
*************
Contact the Death Penalty Information Center at
(202) 289-2275 or visit their website at
http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org
Melinda Tuhus is producer of Between The Lines, which
can be heard on more than 40 radio stations and in
RealAudio and MP3 on our website at
http://www.btlonline.org .
This interview excerpt was featured on the
award-winning, syndicated weekly radio newsmagazine,
Between The Lines for the week ending Aug. 31, 2007.
This Between The Lines Q&A was compiled by Melinda
Tuhus and Anna Manzo. Listen to the rest of this
week’s Between The Lines news program at
http://www.btlonline.org/btl083107.html . If you are
interested in Between The Lines Summary, a summary of
the week’s interviews with RealAudio link, email
btlsummary-subscribe@lists.riseup.net
——————————————————
The Scoop website is at http://www.scoop.co.nz/
This Story is at
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0709/S00006.htm
Note the following new reports at Death Pen. Info
Center:
NEW VOICES: Federal Judge Calls for Vast Improvements
in Representation to Fix California’s Broken System
Posted: September 3, 2007 Arthur L. Alarcon, a senior
judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
in Los Angeles, sharply crititicized California’s
death penalty system and chided lawmakers for failing
to provide adequate representation and funding for
capital cases.
Canadian Man Who Once Faced Death Penalty Acquitted
After 48 Years
Posted: September 1, 2007
Nearly five decades after Steven Truscott was
sentenced to die for the murder of 12-year-old Lynne
Harper in Clinton, Ontario, he has been acquitted by
the Canadian province’s highest court. Truscott, who
was only 14-years-old when he was sentenced.
Texas Governor Grants Rare Death Penalty Commutation
Posted: August 30, 2007
Just hours before tonight’s (August 30) scheduled
execution of Kenneth Foster, Governor Rick Perry has
accepted a Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles
recommendation to stop Foster’s execution and commute
his sentence to life. Perry was not obligated to
accept the highly unusual 6-1 recommendation from the
board whose members he appoints. The commutation is
the first in his more than eight years in office this
close to an actual execution. The board decision was
announced about seven hours before Foster was
scheduled to die. Perry’s announcement came about an
hour later.
North Carolina Man Freed by DNA Evidence After Nearly
Two Decades in Prison
Posted: August 30, 2007
North Carolina dropped all charges against Dwayne
Allen Dail (pictured), who spent nearly half his life
in prison for a rape he did not commit.
NEW RESOURCE: Vanderbilt Study Reveals Decline in
Federal Reversals Since AEDPA
Posted: August 29, 2007
A new study led by Vanderbilt University law professor
Nancy King has revealed that fewer convictions have
been overturned since the 1996 enactment of the
Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act
(AEDPA). The 2-year study was the first to examine the
effects of AEDPA. It examined 2,400 non-capital cases
that were randomly selected from among the more than
36,000 habeas cases filed in federal district court
nationwide by state prisoners during 2003 and 2004, as
well as more than 360 death penalty cases filed in 13
federal districts between 2000 and 2002. King’s
research showed that prior to the passage of AEDPA,
federal courts granted a writ of habeas corpus to a
state prisoner in about one of every 100 non-capital
cases filed. After the new law’s enactment, that
number was closer to one in every 300 cases. King
noted, "More than one in every 5 of these cases was
dismissed because the prisoner missed the new filing
deadline."
Florida Doctors Wear "Moon Suits" to Hide
Participation in Lethal Injections
Posted: August 28, 2007
BOOKS: New Book Examines the Case of Sacco and
Vanzetti
Posted: August 27, 2007
A new book by Bruce Watson examines the case of Nicola
Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian immigrants
whose guilt remains in serious doubt eight decades
after Massachusetts carried out their death sentences.
The book, "Sacco & Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders, and
the Judgment of Mankind" (Viking, 2007),
Since 1996, Federal Courts Have Cut Back in Granting
Any Relief to Those on Death Row
Posted: August 24, 2007
A new study by law professors Eric Freedman of Hofstra
and David Dow of the University of Houston found that,
before the passage of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective
Death Penalty Act in1996, death row inmates who filed
habeas corpus petitions in federal court succeeded in
overturning their convictions or death sentences about
40% of the time. After passage of the 1996 law which
restricted the Courts’ power to overturn state
decisions, the number of successful appeals fell to
just 12% between 2000 and 2006, and the rate of
successful appeals continues to decline today.
U.S. Federal Court Overturns Scottish Citizen’s
Conviction and Death Sentence
Posted: August 23, 2007
Men Threatened With the Death Penalty May Have
Confessed to a Crime They Didn’t Commit
Posted: August 22, 2007
Other Links addressing the death penalty–including
ABA info
http://www.ncadp.org/index.cfm?content=7
http://www.smu.edu/humanrights/links.html (See the
long list of death penalty-related links)
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Also, thanx for signing my petitions, et al, please consider sharing them. Also, since Admin. of change.org aren't allowing me to invite people to do my actions lately and are switching my urls for my petitions so when I invite people off their site they can't get to the petition either (ergo 3 possible urls for each petition), here's a few of my latest actions; do as few or as many as you'd like (there are 3 linx for each petition because admin. switches between the 3 of them so people trying to sign the petition can‘t get to it): This post on Disabled Greens News and discussion: Haiti disaster anniversary, please, do what you can: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DisabledGreensNews/message/9033 This petition on change.org: Haiti disaster anniversary: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/haiti_disaster_anniversary_2?share_id=yIpWHEHxri&pe=pce http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/haiti_disaster_anniversary_2 http://www.change.org/petitions/view/haiti_disaster_anniversary_2   This post on Disabled Greens News and discussion: Green, Indigenous, Native American, etc., actions: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DisabledGreensNews/message/9026 This petition on change.org: Green, Indigenous, Native American, acts: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/green_indigenous_native_american_acts?share_id=NHvTtQadfP&pe=pce http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/green_indigenous,_native_american_acts http://www.change.org/petitions/view/green_indigenous,_native_american_acts   This post on Disabled Greens News and discussion: Art/Act: celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, holiday: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DisabledGreensNews/message/9024 This petition on change.org: Art/Act: celebrate Dr. M.L. King, Jr.'s holiday: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/artact_celebrate_dr_ml_king_jrs_holiday?share_id=QjOkAUGeBQ&pe=pce http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/art_act_celebrate_dr_ml_king_jr_s_holiday http://www.change.org/petitions/view/art_act_celebrate_dr_ml_king_jr_s_holiday   This post on Disabled Greens News and discussion: Green; NA; the evolution; Civil, Human, LP, Prisoner's Rights; Poverty; etc..: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DisabledGreensNews/message/9022 This petition on change.org: Economically empower through advocacy: http://www.change.org/petitions/view/economically_empower_through_advocacy?share_id=WZNqBQWcXE&pe=pce http://uspoverty.change.org/petitions/view/economically_empower_through_advocacy http://www.change.org/petitions/view/economically_empower_throug
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