Bush Rules out Death Penalty Moratorium
President-elect George W. Bush ruled out a moratorium on federal executions here Friday and reaffirmed his support for the death penalty.
"I support the death penalty when it's administered fairly, justly and surely, because I believe it saves people's lives," Bush said at a press conference at which he announced his nominee for the post of attorney general. "I see no reason for there to be a moratorium at the federal level."
Missouri Senator John Ashcroft, attorney generate-designate, said he supported the president elect's stand on the death penalty.
"His views are I think the correct views. And they're obviously his views, but I believe that they are the appropriate views, and I agree completely," he said.
Questioned on the decision by President Bill Clinton on December 7 to suspend for six months the execution of Juan Raul Garza, a convicted murderer and drug trafficker, Bush said he was prepared to review the case.
"The Clinton administration needs to do what it feels like it's got to do," he said. "And when I assume office, if there's compelling evidence that the system is not swift and sure and just, I will listen."
Garza was scheduled to die on December 12 when Clinton announced a six-month reprieve.
The federal death penalty is reserved for some cases of murder, including those involving federal agents. Most executions are carried out by states. The last federal execution was carried out in 1963.
The stay was ordered pending a Justice Department analysis of the racial and geographic disparities in federal death penalty prosecutions -- AUSTIN (AFP)
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