This is a guest post by John Terzano, The Justice Project
Health care reform may have stalled in California, but Governor Schwarzenegger still has a chance to make the state a leader in fixing a national problem: wrongful convictions. Three major criminal justice reform bills are now on the Governor’s desk. The measures are designed to safeguard against wrongful convictions by making practical changes to eyewitness identification procedures, reforming the process by which confessions are attained, and regulating the use of jailhouse snitch testimony.
With more than 200 exonerations to date in California it is critical that measures are enacted before more mistakes are made. The governor has the ability to not only protect the innocent but enhance public safety and the integrity of California’s law enforcement by signing these important bills into law, and setting a standard for the nation.
An appeals court dismissed the ACLU lawsuit to stop illegal NSA spying on Americans – writing that even though the spying is illegal they can’t sue because:
1) They can’t prove they are being spied on personally, and
2) They aren’t allowed to find out if they are being spied on.
Court orders dismissal of U.S. wiretapping lawsuit,
The appeals court ruled that the plaintiffs could not sue because they can’t prove they were affected by the program, and at the same time, ruled that details about the program, including who was targeted, are state secrets.
But according to a Reuters report,
The ACLU plaintiffs included lawyers who said they could not defend clients accused of terrorism because the government, under the wiretapping program, could listen into attorney-client conversations.
But the two judges in the majority opinion said the plaintiffs had failed to prove they were under surveillance.
And, of course, the ruling is another product of Republican politicization of the judicial system,
The two judges in the majority, Julia Smith Gibbons and Batchelder, are Republican appointees, named by Bush and his father, respectively.
Judge Ronald Lee Gilman, appointed by President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, dissented. Gilman said he would uphold the ruling last year on the grounds that the program violated the 1978 law.