Tuesday
November
25
2014
3:13 pm
Weather

  Home
  Local News
  State / National / World
  Sports
  Opinion / Letters
  Business
  Arts / Entertainment
  Lifestyle
  Obituaries
  Calendar
  Submit Event
  Comics / Games
  Classifieds
  DJ Designers
  Archives
  Advertise With Us
  About Us
 
 
 
 
Ex-governors want California death penalty reform
February 14, 2014, 05:00 AM By Linda Deutsch The Associated

LOS ANGELES — Three former California governors announced a proposed ballot initiative Thursday designed to speed up the state’s lengthy death penalty process.

Former Govs. George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson and Gray Davis said they were launching a signature-gathering effort for the measure that would limit appeals available to death row inmates, remove the prisoners from special death row housing, and require them to work at prison jobs in order to pay restitution to victims.

The former governors, appearing with law enforcement officials at a news conference, made it clear they want executions to begin as soon as possible. There are more than 700 prisoners on California’s death row.

“Old age should not be the leading cause of death on death row,” former Gov. Pete Wilson said.

They agreed the death penalty system is crippled by waste and inefficiency.

“We all know the death penalty system is broken at the appellate level,” said former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley.

His predecessor in that job, Gil Garcetti, is leading the opposition to the initiative and was a proponent of Proposition 34, the 2012 ballot measure that would have repealed the death penalty in California. The vote was 48 percent in favor and 52 percent opposed, one of the closest votes ever on a death penalty referendum.

A statement from the former governors said “Californians overwhelmingly reaffirmed their support for the death penalty” with the vote on Prop. 34.

Executions have been halted since 2006 because of lawsuits in federal and state courts over changing a three-drug lethal-injection method that had been used to carry out death sentences.

Asked about the availability of drugs to carry out executions, the governors said they could not comment and that would be an issue for the California Department of Corrections.

Two relatives of victims spoke and decried the length of time it takes to resolve a death penalty appeal. Phyllis Loya said it took four years for an attorney to be assigned to a man convicted of killing her son.

Davis said it can take 10 years before a federal application for review of a death penalty case is resolved and another 10 years to clear state appellate courts.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos, representing the California District Attorneys Association, said if the initiative passes there would be no frivolous appeals and the state would see enormous fiscal savings.

With the initiative, backers want to bypass automatic appeals to the California Supreme Court and instead distribute them to other appeals courts unless it is necessary for a case to be heard by the high court.

Absent from the press conference were former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and current Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown is personally opposed to the death penalty but has said he would abide by the law.

He declined comment on the proposed initiative Thursday.

Garcetti called the initiative a misguided effort and predicted legal challenges would take decades to resolve.

Anna Zamora of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California later issued a statement saying: “This flawed proposal will only make matters worse. It will create more delays and overburden our already strained court system. Worst of all, it will greatly increase the risk that California could execute an innocent person.”

 

 

Tags: death, penalty, would, california, former, initiative,


Other stories from today:

 

 
Print this Page Print this Page  |  Bookmark and Share
<< Back
 
Return To Archives
 
  


 
 
 
Daily Journal Quick Poll
 
What do you think of Pablo Sandoval inking a deal to play for the Boston Red Sox?

All good things come to an end
Going to miss him
Wish he would have stayed
Good riddance
Love it, love the Red Sox

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Giants third base coach Tim Flannery retires
SAN FRANCISCO — Tim Flannery is ready to leave the baseball grind and play a little more music. O..
US economy grew at 3.9 percent rate in 3rd quarter
WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy grew at a solid 3.9 percent annual rate in the July-September period..
Ferguson businesses torched in overnight protests
FERGUSON, Mo. — Smoke billowed from burned-out buildings and sidewalks were strewn with broken gla..
New FDA rules will put calorie counts on menus
WASHINGTON — Whether they want to or not, consumers will soon know how many calories they are eati..
More >>  
 
 
  
 
  
 
©2014 San Mateo Daily Journal
South San Francisco newspaper