Letter: US states are a law unto themselves

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The Independent Online
Sir: Both MPs ("Mother begs Major to help save son from electric chair", 31 March) and your correspondent, David McDowell (letter, 31 March), might profitably remember that the president of the United States has no responsibility for the administration of criminal justice in Georgia or any of several states.

Bill Clinton may well want to write polite letters to Anne Campell, MP, and Mr McDowall. But he has no authority over the prospective execution of Nick Ingram. The Georgia state courts, and, now, the governor of Georgia, in his ability to grant executive clemency, are alone responsible.

Just to complicate matters, the US Supreme Court does, in some respects, have jurisdiction over both federal and state bodies - thus the earlier appeal to that Court, which was rejected. But Mr Clinton has none.

Yours faithfully,

HENRY THOMAS

London, W14

31 March

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