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NATION IN BRIEF : WASHINGTON, D.C. : Bill Would Expedite Death Penalty Cases

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), saying the present drawn-out justice system makes a farce of the death penalty, introduced legislation that would in almost all cases carry out executions within one year. Specter’s bill would expedite the process by eliminating state court reviews and setting up a single federal court review of habeas corpus proceedings, which are initiated when a convict contends that his rights were violated. The bill would also prohibit continuances unless there is a “showing of good cause,” urge judges to give death penalty cases priority status and set a timetable for appeals.


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