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Deadline Set For Sentencing Statement From Arellano-Felix Defense

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Aired 4/19/09

Attorneys for the alleged leader of the Arellano-Felix drug cartel and one of his suspected top lieutenants got a two-month reprieve Tuesday. The defense attorneys were granted the extra time to prepare a statement explaining why their clients should not face the death penalty. KPBS reporter Amy Isackson has details.

Since the legal proceedings began against Francisco Javier Arellano Felix and one of his alleged right hand men, Judge Larry Burns has stuck dogmatically to deadlines. His mantra: deadlines force action. He says they force you to make sure your blue suit is pressed and your pencils are sharp.

However, after repeating his standby, Burns moved the November deadline he'd set for jury selection in the case to January. Burns said forcing the defense to prepare a mitigating document by April, showing why their clients should not face death, was not good. He understands two more months may not be satisfactory, but he hopes it helps.

Arellano-Felix's attorney says the two-month delay still means his team must prepare the statement in half the time that's average for these kinds of cases.

Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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