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Federal judges, ABA slam death penalty appeals proposal

[JURIST] The Judicial Conference of the United States [official website], the policy making body for federal judges, and the American Bar Association (ABA) [group website] have sent a letter [PDF text] to US Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) opposing proposed legislation that would limit death penalty appeals. The proposed Streamlined Procedures Act [text], is designed to stop ongoing delays between convictions and executions in capital cases and is based on the premise that the restrictions on appeals passed by Congress in 1996 have proven to be inadequate. An earlier letter [PDF text] from the ABA to the Judiciary Committee highlighted concerns that the proposal could prevent federal courts from considering claims if a state court has found no constitutional error. The letter asserted that the effect of the bill would effectively demolish federal court review of habeas corpus [LectLaw definition] protections and demanded a hearing before the bill was passed. A hearing on the proposal is scheduled for Thursday. Wednesday's Los Angeles Times has more.

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