John Edwards on Crime
Democratic Nominee for Vice President; NC Jr Senator
EDWARDS: I'm proud of the work I did on behalf of kids and families against big insurance companies, big drug companies and big HMOs. We do have too many lawsuits. And the reality is there's something that we can do about it. We want to put more responsibility on the lawyers to require to have the case reviewed by independent experts to determine if the case is serious and meritorious before it can be filed; hold the lawyers responsible for that, certify that and hold the lawyer financially responsible if they don't do it; have a three-strikes-and-you're-out rule so that a lawyer who files three of these cases without meeting this requirement loses their right to file these cases. That way we keep the cases out of the system that don't belong in the system.
EDWARDS: No, I would not.
SHARPTON: So you would proceed even with the flaws?
EDWARDS: I think those changes need to be made in the system. We need to make those changes. I've been fighting for those changes in the United States Senate.
SHARPTON: But you would let them continue?
EDWARDS: States can evaluate whether their own system is working. I think they vary from state-to-state. Illinois did that and came to a conclusion that their system was not working. I think we should support that if they make that determination.
SHARPTON: That sounds like states' rights again. I don't agree with that.
EDWARDS: No, it is not.
EDWARDS: Very serious issue, and it means we need to take lots of serious steps to deal with it, which means using DNA testing. It means making all of the most modern technologies available. It means making the court system work, not just for those who can hire the best lawyers money can buy, but for folks who have to have indigent counsel. I've seen what happens in court rooms. I know how important it is to have a lawyer representing an indigent defendant who knows what they're doing.
Q: Why do you favor capital?
EDWARDS: Because I think there are some crimes -- those men who dragged James Byrd behind that truck in Texas, they deserve the death penalty. And I think there are some crimes that deserve the ultimate punishment.
A: I believe the death penalty is the most fitting punishment for the most heinous crimes, and I support it. But we need reforms in the death penalty to ensure that defendants receive fair trials, with zealous and competent lawyers, and with full access to DNA testing.
CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants) is a membership organization of families of prisoners, prisoners, former prisoners and other concerned citizens. CURE's two goals are
Title: To provide Federal assistance to States and local jurisdictions to prosecute hate crimes.
Summary: Provide technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or other assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of any violent crime that is motivated by prejudice based on the race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability of the victim or is a violation of hate crime laws.
Title: To reduce the risk that innocent persons may be executed.
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