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November 2004
Innocence Protection Act Signed Into Law

10 November 2004

On November 1st, 2004 President Bush signed into law the Justice for All Act (H.R.5107) that includes a version of the Innocence Protection Act.  The bill will fund post-conviction DNA testing to protect innocent defendants in addition to providing funds for the training of defense attorneys and prosecutors in death penatly cases.  See the Death Penalty Information Center for more details.


Nominee for Attorney General

11 November 2004

President Bush has announced his nomination of Alberto R. Gonzales as U.S. Attorney-General. President Bush first appointed Gonzales as general counsel while Governor of Texas. Gonzales later became the secretary of state for Texas and eventually a Texas supreme court justice. As President, Bush then appointed Gonzales as White House counsel.


There are mixed views of Gonzales as the next Attorney-General. Some in Washington believe Gonzalez to be a likely candidate for a Supreme Court Justice. The Democrats are concerned because Gonzales is more conservative than other prospective candidates. Yet, some conservatives are nervous because they view Gonzales as being too moderate. Many questions pertaining to abortion, the death penalty, the Patriot Act, terrorism, civil liberties, and other important issues will be asked during the confirmation hearings from both sides.

Compiled from: David E. Sanger and Eric Lichtblau, Bush Nominates His Top Counsel for Justice Post, The New York Times, 11 November 2004. David Johnston and Richard W. Stevenson, Nominee for Attorney General Rides an Ideological Divide, The New York Times, 11 November 2004.


Death Sentence 30-year Low

16 November 2004

For the past three years, capital punishment sentences have been decreasing. In 2003, 144 inmates were given the death penalty, the lowest of death sentences in thirty years. Many believe that the public is more aware of the issues regarding the death penalty and is therefore more hesitant and skeptical of imposing execution. Life without parole has become the alternative to the death penalty. Forty-seven states now offer life without parole as a possible sentence, depending on the conviction.