Life or Death: Should Californians Ban Capital Punishment?

Two state public safety committees will hold an informational hearing on Proposition 34 Tuesday, Sept. 27.

The California Senate Committee on Public Safety and the Assembly Committee of Public Safety will hold an informational hearing on Proposition 34 on Tuesday.

Prop. 34 is the November election ballot measure to abolish the death penalty in California. If passed, it would require replacing the ultimate court punishment with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

After long using the practice, California suspended its application of capital punishment in 1972. It was reinstated in 1977. Since then, 13 people have been executed by the state.

The passage of Prop. 34 would make it so all California inmates currently on death row would retroactively receive life without parole.

Tuesday’s hearing will include an overview and financial impact breakdown of the initiative by the Legislative Analyst’s Office. It will also involve two panel discussions.

The first panel will be made up of Prop. 34 supporters, which include former San Quentin Warden Jeanne Woodford and former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti. The second panel will be made up of the initiative’s opponents, including Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones and San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

The hearing with be held on Tuesday, Sept. 18 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon in 4203 of the State Capitol. It will open to the public for public comment at 11:30 a.m.

Should Californians ban the death penalty? Share your thoughts on the issue in comments.

Chris Bernstien September 20, 2012 at 06:42 PM
The 729 convicted murderers on death row were convicted of brutally killing at least 1,279 people. At least 230 of them were children. 75 more were young adults between the ages of 18-20. Another 82 victims were older than 65. Of these victims, at least 211 of them were raped and 319 of them robbed. Sixty-six victims were killed in execution style, usually bound and shot in the back of the head. Forty-seven victims were tortured. Forty-three of these victims were law enforcement agents and another seven were security guards. Not included in these numbers are cases where the killer attempted to kill a police officer, but was unsuccessful, as in the case of Oswaldo Amezcua who shot three police officers. Eleven death sentences were handed down after an already-incarcerated inmate murdered another inmate.
Chris Bernstien September 20, 2012 at 06:42 PM
The arguments in support of Pro. 34, the ballot measure to abolish the death penalty, are exaggerated at best and, in most cases, misleading and false. Proposition 34 is being funded primarily by a wealthy company out of Chicago and the ACLU. It includes provisions that would make our prisons less safe for both other prisoners and prison officials. It significantly increases the costs to taxpayers due to life-time medical costs, the increased security required to coerce former death-row inmates to work, the money to pay those inmates to work, etc. The amount “saved” in order to help fund law enforcement is negligible and only for three years. (The money is taken from the general fund irregardless of whether Prop 34 actually saves any money.) Prop. 34 also takes away funds inmates could use to actually fight for their innocence, increasing the risk that innocent people will spend the rest of their lives in jail. The dollars Prop. 34 takes away ensure both that innocent people are not executed or spend the rest of their lives in jail. Get the facts and supporting evidence at cadeathpenalty.webs.com, waiting4justice.org, and youtube.com/watch?v=Vb7HMOfxxLE.
Courtney Minick September 25, 2012 at 04:35 PM
The costs of the death penalty are well established by reliable sources. Federal Judge (and former death penalty prosecutor) Arthur Alarcon authored a law review article, along with Loyola Law School Professor Paula Mitchell, that found that we have spent $4B on the death penalty since 1978, and are on track to spend $1B over the next 5 years. The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office did their own study, and found that replacing the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole will save the state $130M per year. SAFE California has over 10,000 donors and supporters behind this effort, with donations from $5 to $5,000 and more. Supporters include clergy, law enforcement, labor leaders, elected officials, victim family members, conservatives and liberals. The SAFE California Fund will provide $100M over 3 years to help solve crime in our communities. The money will be directed to local law enforcement to bring down the shocking unsolved crime rates in this state. Right now, 46% of murders and 56% of reported rapes go unsolved every year. Voters would rather spend precious state resources on keeping our communities safe than on death row inmates who are already safely locked up behind bars forever. Life in prison without parole is a harsh punishment, and it will keep heinous killers behind bars until they die, with no hope of ever getting out.
Courtney Minick September 25, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Proposition 34 is justice that works – for everyone. You can find out more at www.yeson34.com.
Chris Bernstien October 03, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Your federal judge has been an anti-death penalty advocate for decades and his hardly reliable or unbiased. Both reports of the costs ignore the other side of the equation & the additional costs of Prop. 34: the increased costs for medical care, increased security for requiring inmates to work, taxpayers paying for their work, etc.) On balance, Prop. 34 will cost more. Most of the $ for Prop. 34 comes from liberal Chicago trust funds and the ACLU. Look it up. The $ for law enforcement is less than 1.5% of the LA Sheriff's Dept. budget. Divide it among 58 counties and even more police departments, it is a pittance and will have no affect on crime. (And it's only for 3 years.) Brown just signed a bill to let 300+ LWOP inmates out on parole in as little as 15 years after conviction. Liberals would like to get rid of LWOP. So promises that men jurors found to dangerous to live in prison for life will stay in prison carries no weight.


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