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February 2, 2005

A capital sentencing moment in the State of the Union

Unsurprisingly, and as I predicted here, President Bush did not discuss Booker directly in his State of the Union address tonight.  The speech did have, however, this line which might have been an indirect reference to sentencing reform issues: "Because one of the main sources of our national unity is our belief in equal justice, we need to make sure Americans of all races and backgrounds have confidence in the system that provides justice."

Two subsequent sentences spoke more directly to issues of criminal justice concern.  And, somewhat surprisingly (at least to me), theses sentences included a commitment to fund special training for defense counsel in death penalty cases:

In America we must make doubly sure no person is held to account for a crime he or she did not commit — so we are dramatically expanding the use of DNA evidence to prevent wrongful conviction. Soon I will send to Congress a proposal to fund special training for defense counsel in capital cases, because people on trial for their lives must have competent lawyers by their side.

February 2, 2005 at 09:56 PM | Permalink

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