CALIFORNIANS VOTE TO REPLACE CAPITAL PUNISHMENT WITH LIFE IMPRISONMENT
Comments by Rocky Montana
"A coalition of law enforcement officials, murder victims’ family members, and wrongly convicted people has launched an initiative campaign for the “Savings, Accountability, and Full Enforcement for California Act”, or SAFE California, now Prop. 34. If passed by California voters on November 6, 2012, Prop. 34 will replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, require people sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole to work in order to pay restitution to victims’ families, and allocate approximately $30 million per year for three years to police departments for the purpose of solving open murder and rape cases.
Proponents of Prop. 34 cite the cost of implementing the death penalty as a major motivating factor behind the initiative. A 2011 study by former prosecutor and federal judge Arthur Alarcón indicates that California has spent approximately $4 billion to execute 13 people since the death penalty as reinstated. The Legislative Analyst's Office official analysis of the proposition shows that Prop. 34 will likely save taxpayers over 100 million dollars per year.
Proponents of Prop. 34 also cite the possibility of executing an innocent person as a major motivating factor behind the initiative.
[RM: Prop. 34 is an important proposition for the citizens of California. But the most important reason to end Capital Punishment never seems to be considered in any debate, which is: CAPITAL PUNISHMENT is MURDER BY THE STATE and ALL FORMS OF MURDER BREAK GOD'S LAW! Ones can argue and argue this fact but God's Laws will never be overturned. The State has performed its function when it has imprisoned convicted murderers without the possibility of parole, thus separating these individuals away from civilized society where they can do no more harm. They should also be separated away from the opposite sex without the possibility of reproducing. The State goes too far when it acts to play God, taking a life for a life, by murdering convicted murderers by whatever form of killing device it uses, i.e., lethal injection, electrocution, firing squad, guillotine, hanging, etc. Who is the State but its citizens? -- and when the citizens of the State knowingly and passively submit to Capital Punishment without trying to stop it, are they not just as the guilty as the one who does the deed? Ponder it. Californians who vote Yes on Prop. 34 on November 6, 2012, or by absentee ballot, will be taking an active step toward living by God's Law. Count on God to be there, watching.]
Supporters of Prop. 34 include:
- The California Democratic Party
The California Nurses Association
The League of Women Voters of California
The California State NAACP
All the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in California.
All the bishops of the Episcopal Church in California.
Jeanne Woodford, the former Warden of San Quentin State Prison who presided over four executions;
Gil Garcetti, the former District Attorney of Los Angeles County;
Franky Carrillo and Obie Anthony, who were wrongly convicted of murder and spent decades in prison before their exoneration;
Deldelp Medina and Aqeela Sherrills, family members of murder victims;
Don Heller, the author of the 1978 initiative that expanded the use of the death penalty in California;
Ron Briggs, a main proponent of the 1978 initiative that expanded the use of the death penalty in California.
On March 1, 2012, the SAFE California Campaign submitted 799,589 signatures to qualify for the election on November 6, 2012. On April 23, 2012 California Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced that the initiative had been approved and would be on the November ballot.
Some Prop. 34 detractors do not believe the studies that indicate that the death penalty in California is more expensive than life in prison without the possibility of parole. Others admit that the system is broken, but hold out hope that it can be fixed, despite the fact that "reform attempts have failed to make it past the California State Legislature." Others point to the irony that SAFE supporters decry the high costs of death penalty appeals (guaranteed under California law as established by the 1978 referendum) while raising concerns about the possibility of executing the innocent.
Detractors also believe that there may be safety concerns for other inmates and guards have also been raised due to the requirement that inmates sentenced to death would be required to work if the proposition were to pass.
In addition to the federal case challenging the lethal injection protocol, state proceedings have provided an additional basis for halting executions. In the state case, the issue is whether the execution process complies with the Administrative Procedures Act. In December 2011, Judge Faye D'Opal of Marin County Superior Court ruled that the state had failed to justify the decision to put in place a three-drug lethal injection method, which some experts had said carries a risk of “excruciating pain,” instead of a one-drug method, which one of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s own experts had recommended.
As of May 2012 under the current 1978 law:
- 57 inmates have died from natural causes
- 6 inmates have died from "other causes"
- 20 inmates have committed suicide
- 13 have been executed in California
- 1 inmate (Kelvin Shelby Malone) was executed in Missouri