Cornyn Files Legislation for Those Convicted of Killing Cops

Texas Senator John Cornyn is filing legislation in Congress to streamline the appeals process for those convicted of killing police officers. Cornyn came to Houston to announce the legislation.

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There are two parts to the appeal process in capital murder cases. One is the direct appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals which makes sure the law was applied correctly and the facts support the conviction.

"But then there's a collateral appeal called the habeas corpus proceedings which can go on years and years and years. That's the reason why on average these cop killers are spending 12 and a half years on death row. Some of them have been waiting 25 years in the worst case for their final appeal to be decided."

Ten people are on death row for killing police officers. The longest has been there 25 years. Houston Police Officers Union President Hans Marticiuc says streamlining the process will help provide closure for families of fallen officers.

"Certainly that family member that's been killed is always going to be in their minds and always going to be thought of. But that's an integral part of being able to move on with your life. Having the person still appealing and on death row, it's crazy."

Senator Cornyn says he would support streamlining the appeals process for others facing capital punishment.

"I think that narrowing it and focusing it on law enforcement and judiciary, it enhances our chances of getting it passed. But I think the same sort of streamlined justice system that we're asking for people who kill law enforcement personal and judges should apply across the board. But we're starting here and we'll broaden it if we can gain the political support to do that."

Other parts of the legislation would create penalties for intimidation and or retaliatory violence against the family member of a federal judge or law enforcement officer. It also would authorize federal judges and prosecutors to carry firearms.

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Capella Tucker

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Capella Tucker joined KUHF in the spring of 1994 as a part-time reporter. She quickly gained a full-time position when she took over production duties for

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