Two weeks ago, Attorney General John Ashcroft rejected a recommendation by federal prosecutors that the Department of Justice
decline to seek the death penalty against defendant Jairo Zapata. The prosecutors, however, had already signed a deal with
Zapata: If he provided information about his drug lord bosses, they would recommend that a judge not sentence him to death.
Moreover, Zapata had already provided the information, thus putting himself in danger of reprisals. Yet thanks to Ashcroft,
they were forced to break the deal. ...
Ashcroft Frequently Ignores Federal Prosecutors' Sentencing Requests
Here is something even more disturbing: In more than 90% of Ashcroft's recommendation rejections, the defendant has been
a minority group member. Also troubling is evidence that Ashcroft's rejections are political, not based on the merits of the
Ashcroft's frequent rejections of prosecutors' recommendations are a disaster not just for justice, but also for public
Why Even Strong Death Penalty Supporters Should Oppose This Policy
When I watch Ashcroft in action, I get the distinct feeling that he is acting in the interests of a truly radical - and
pretty scary - minority. . .
Many death penalty supporters would respect the rights of prosecutors, who bear the burden of standing in front of the
jury and saying "you should vote to have this defendant executed," to exercise their judgment as to when it is most appropriate.
After all, the prosecutors are the ones closest to the case, and most knowledgeable about the particular defendant. ...