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FROM THIS EPISODE

Juries are handing out death sentences faster than states can conduct executions.  Congress has given the US Attorney General new powers to speed up the process. Is Attorney General Alberto Gonzales the right man for the job? We look at his record and hear about fears that too much haste could lead to fatal mistakes. Also, the tumbling stock markets and, on Reporter's Notebook, the verdict is in on Jose Padilla.


Photo: Alex Wong, Getty Images

Producers:
Vanessa Romo
Christian Bordal
Dan Konecky

Reporter's Notebook Jury Reaches Verdict in Jose Padilla Case 8 MIN, 34 SEC

Jurors reached a verdict today in the trial of Jose Padilla, who was charged along with two co-defendants with supporting al Qaeda and other violent Islamic extremist groups overseas. The 36 year-old American citizen originally was accused of being part of an al Qaeda plot to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the US. He was interrogated in military custody with no lawyer present and without being read his Miranda rights. After three years in custody, he was charged with providing himself to al-Qaeda for training, as the US Attorney put it, "to murder, kidnap and maim." Mother Jones co-editor Clara Jeffrey has followed the case from the beginning.

Guests:
Clara Jeffrey, Co-Editor of Mother Jones magazine

Making News Stocks Dive Anew after More Bad News from Credit Market 5 MIN, 48 SEC

The stock markets tumbled again today—in Asia, Europe and the United States, where the three leading indicators are down 10% from highs posted only last month. The question is whether the impact will send the economy into recession. Vikas Bajaj is a business reporter for the New York Times.

Guests:
Vikas Bajaj, Business Reporter for the New York Times

Main Topic Capital Punishment and Alberto Gonzales 34 MIN, 38 SEC

There are 3300 convicts on death row in the United States—more than 600 in California alone.  Just 53 people were executed last year. Lengthy appeals and moratoriums in some states have delayed the process of capital punishment. When Congress re-authorized the Patriot Act, it included a provision that could speed things up by transferring certain authority from federal judges to the Attorney General of the United States. That's extended debate about the death penalty to the record of the current Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales. Before they went to Washington, Alberto Gonzales advised Governor George Bush on clemency for death penalty convicts. In six years, 150 people were executed, and each time Gonzales provided Bush with a document summarizing the facts of the case, the defendant's personal background and a legal history. We look at the man death-penalty advocates say is the right man to handle life-and-death issues, even as others question his potential for executing the wrong people when the process moves too fast.

Guests:
Richard Schmitt, Staff Reporter, Los Angeles Times
Paul Charlton, Former US Attorney
William "Rusty" Hubbarth, former General Counsel in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Alan Berlow, Journalist who’s written about Alberto Gonzales and the death penalty
Stephen Bright, Senior Counsel at the Southern Center for Human Rights

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