Executions in CA Still on Pause, Virginia Gives Vote to Some After Prison…and More on DOJ/Media SpyingJune 3rd, 2013 by Taylor Walker
APPELLATE COURT KEEPS CA EXECUTIONS ON HOLD
The CA stay on executions will remain in place after a three-judge panel of the lst District Court of Appeal in San Francisco upheld a lower court ruling that the CDCR has failed to comply with procedural law when establishing lethal injection regulations.
The Sacramento Bee’s Denny Walsh has the story. Here’s a clip explaining what might come next in the process:
Steve Mayer, lead appellate counsel for the condemned inmates challenging the regulations, estimated it will take “at least nine months to a year, and maybe longer,” if the state decides to craft revised regulations and jump through the rule-making hoops set out in the Administrative Procedure Act.
On the other hand, if the Brown administration petitions the California Supreme Court for review, Mayer said, “we are looking at anywhere from two to four years” before the court issues an opinion. It depends on how long it takes the seven-member court “to get four justices to sign off on something.”
Mayer said the case is unique in that “the CDCR did such a bad job. There wasn’t a single step in the process they did right, so it’s not surprising there is no case law right on point.”
VA RESTORES VOTING RIGHTS TO DISENFRANCHISED
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced that he would automatically restore the voting rights of disenfranchised non-violent offenders who meet certain criteria–a big step in the right direction for a state where over 7% of the adult population is disenfranchised.
In California, voting rights are restored automatically once a person is released from prison and discharged from parole (probationers can vote). You can look up the voting laws for ex-offenders in the rest of the states here.
Here’s a clip from an NY Times editorial on restoring the voting rights of the disenfranchised:
Governor McDonnell’s order, which could cover more than 100,000 people, reflects a growing awareness that disenfranchisement serves no rehabilitative purpose — and may, in fact, contribute to further criminal behavior by forcing former offenders to the margins of society.
In all, nearly six million Americans — about 2.5 percent of the voting-age population — are barred from voting by a confusing patchwork of state laws that strip convicted felons of the right to vote, often temporarily, but sometimes for life. Nearly two dozen states have softened their disenfranchisement policies since the late 1990s, with several states repealing or scaling back lifetime bans.
ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER PLEDGES CHANGES TO GUIDELINES ON INVESTIGATING JOURNALISTS
To address the controversy over recent outrageous cases of spying on journalists by the Department of Justice, Attorney General Eric Holder assured media editors in a private meeting that the administration would push for a federal “media shield ban” to protect journalists from unreasonable and invasive subpoenas. (Thanks, Eric. Nice to know that you plan to protect us from…um, you.)
Wall Street Journal’s Devlin Barrett has the story. Here are some clips:
Mr. Holder and aides said they were open to changing the guidelines the department uses to broaden the circle of officials who have to agree that subpoenas are justified as a last resort. The officials also said they were open to annual reviews with news organizations, according to a Wall Street Journal editor who attended the meeting.
The department’s guidelines haven’t been revised in more than two decades, and the officials said they needed to be updated to deal with significant changes in news gathering that have occurred in that time.
Mr. Holder and the other Justice officials told the editors they were committed to protecting the role journalists play in reporting on the government. Mr. Holder and his top aide, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, have been criticized by press organizations and First Amendment advocates for what have been called overly broad seizures of reporters’ phone records, as well as a search warrant to read one reporter’s personal emails.
Mr. Holder and his aides also said the administration would throw its weight behind an effort to pass a federal media shield law, though such legislation would likely have little impact on the two cases at the center of the current controversy, according to the editor.
EDITOR’S NOTE: THE NEW YORK TIMES & OTHER MEDIA OUTLETS BOYCOTTED THE HOLDER MEETING
And with good reason, we think.
Here’s a clip from the Huffington Post’s story about why NYT’s Executive Editor Jill Abramson decided the paper wasn’t going.
Jill Abramson spoke out on Sunday about the New York Times’ decision to boycott Eric Holder’s meeting with news organizations, saying that the newspaper is worried that “the process of news gathering is being criminalized.”
Attorney General Holder recently met with outlets to review the DOJ’s guidelines for investigating journalists. The meeting, however, provoked even more controversy when it was announced that it would be off-the-record, prompting the Times among others to abstain from attending.
“To have this private meeting with the attorney general and not be able to share anything about it with our readers didn’t seem to have a point to me,” Abramson told Bob Schieffer on Sunday’s “Face the Nation.” “The Times and our readers are quite concerned about the six active criticism leak cases that the Obama administration has pursued. That’s more than all the other administrations combined. And, you know, we are concerned that the process of news gathering is being criminalized.”
Later, she added that it was important to remember that the public is probably less invested in the case than journalists, and more preoccupied with other issues like the state of the economy and the cost of health care.
The AP and the Huffington Post were among the other outlets that declined to attend once it was announced that the meeting was off-the-record—an extraordinarily tone-deaf decision on the part of the the administration.
At the meeting Holder reportedly announced to those assembled that, regarding the whole spying-on-media thing: “I get it.”
And yet the meeting remained off-the-record— although finally Holder agreed that journalists could report “in general” on what was discussed.
This leads many of us to believe that, although Holder is trying mightily to diffuse the media’s anger toward him and the DOJ, he still doesn’t, in fact, “get it.”