Capital Punishment: Should the Appeals Process Be Streamlined?

The article "Capital Punishment Is on the Rise; California on Verge of an Execution," March 25, is very interesting.

Before the death penalty was finally abolished in Britain in 1969, a number of men were hanged whose innocence later came to light. The most famous is probably Timothy Evans, who was granted a posthumous free pardon by the Queen in 1966. There were others, though, like Walker Rowland and James Hanratty.

In my opinion, therefore, there is a strong argument for not streamlining the federal appeals system in the United States. I agree with the viewpoint expressed in the article "that no safeguard in the system is too much when a person's life is at stake." James Westland, Nottingham, England Judicial reform in Britain

Regarding the article "Britain's Chief Justice Promises No More Wigs, Gowns, or Cobwebs," March 11: The new chief justice and future Lord Taylor may be correct in his assessment of Britain's legal system and its need of reform, but changing the apparel of the judges does not constitute judicial reform.

Traditional apparel may isolate the judges from the community, but a certain amount of isolation is necessary for an impartial and effective judicial system.

Reform must come from within the justice system, and wigs and gowns will neither hinder nor enhance the workings of the law. Cash Marsh, Florence, Ala. Democracies in the making

The editorial "Telling America's Story," March 23, is right on target. For the past 40 years the United States Information Agency (USIA) has helped convince foreign citizens that a democratic system works.

Over the past three years, we have seen a new world of freedom emerge; and where democratic principles have been adopted, we are helping foreign citizens and leaders create the institutions which embody those principles.

During this pivotal period of development, the US cannot afford to ignore a crucial opportunity to help foreign citizens understand why democracy works and how to make it work for them.

The editorial is right. The US must continue to share its democracy-building blueprints, tools, and expertise with other nations that look to America for democratic know-how. Henry E. Catto, Washington Director, The United States Information Agency The Cambodian dilemma

The editorial "Time to Be Counted on Cambodia," April 1, names three foreign players (China, the United States, and Japan) that the writer feels should lead efforts toward forcing the Khmer Rouge to honor the provisions of the October peace treaty and, in addition, accept a cease-fire agreement.

The editorial fails to mention the fact that the forces of the current Phnom Penh government are still part of the Vietnamese puppet regime installed by an army of occupation in 1979; they, along with their supporters in Hanoi, will also have to be diplomatically pressured by the US, China, Japan, and the countries of ASEAN if there is ever going to be a peaceful settlement to the Cambodian dilemma. James Gildea, Albany, N.Y. Israeli prison abuses

Thank you for the article "Critics Decry Israeli Prison Abuses," March 18. It is seldom that a person finds an accurately written article about the sufferings and abuses practiced daily on the Palestinian people in the West Bank and occupied territories. Elham Bayour, Downey, Calif.

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