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Jerry Brown Interview on the Death Penalty

The Sacramento Bee has this page with video of its editorial board's interview with California Attorney General and candidate for Governor Jerry Brown.  They have conveniently broken up the video by topic, so you can watch the death penalty portion separately from the others.  For those who like to have a transcript for more convenient reference, I have transcribed it as best I can given the technical issues.  The transcript follows the jump.  I will have some comments in another post.
Jerry Brown interview with the Sacramento Bee editorial board, September 24, 2010:

Q: ... What is your proposal for dealing with that, would you build a new death row?

A: I thought we just built one.  Didn't we just build one for 500 thousand, 500 million dollars or something?

Q: <inaudible> build a new one.

A: Well, an issue <unclear> we had, what, since I was governor, four governors and I think we've had 12 executions.  The world has changed somewhat.  When my father was governor we had 35 executions, and he didn't even want to do it.  So even those who wanted to, like Deukmejian, were unable to.  So, I've defended more death penalty convictions than any person in the country.  And we defend them because that's the law.  And I will observe the law and I've been down this road before.  The people have spoken.  The courts have upheld it.  I'll carry it out.

The difficulty is it takes years to get a transcript and then to get the case teed up because you have to have a lawyer and there are not that many lawyers who can do it.  It costs money.  Nobody wants to give them money.  So, that's the dilemma, and I would certainly want people to see what can be done.  I know the Chief Justice wants to spend more money in order to accelerate the process, and that's probably what it takes.

Q: Are you still morally opposed to it? <low volume on this questioner's mic, not sure>

A: I have never said morally, go read my veto message, I said I would prefer a society that did not have to use the death penalty.  But my preference has been overruled, and not only by the Legislature but by initiative.  So I will carry out the law as it is, as my father did <unclear>.

Q: You don't oppose it morally?  On moral grounds? <same questioner, still low volume>

A: You know I haven't really tried to parse out all the considerations that go into my view.  You know, certainly somebody who has lived in Oakland and saw <glitch in video at this point, rest of sentence lost>. I look at the state and being in the business of executions, that's something that strikes me as being my first option. <Surely meant to say "not my first option," but no "not" is audible.> But there it is, this is the law, it is very strongly felt by the people, and I think the rule of law is fundamental.  And whether it is Proposition 13, which I opposed but I carried out, I'll carry out the death penalty as well.

Q: So will death row continue to grow, with no end in sight?

A: Unless we come up with some proposals.  Do you have any ideas? These cases are difficult.  The courts are very careful. And to tell you the truth, what I've done as Attorney General, I've appointed good leadership and believe in this law and they are doing the best job they can. And I just have to look at it. I have not seen too many proposals, other than to hire more lawyers and give them more money for investigators as far as advancing the cause.

Q: I can't help but ask.  I mean, you say you would carry out the will of the people.  How does that jibe with your view on Proposition 8?  How come you haven't defended Proposition 8, which was the will of the people, and a vote of the people?

A: Wait, it's totally, diametrically different. The death penalty has been upheld, not only by the state Supreme Court, even my judges upheld it on several occasions, and it's been upheld by the U. S. Supreme Court.  In the case of Proposition 8, after a very extensive hearing, the judge ruled it unconstitutional with no rational basis.  So that's quite different, and I'm following the same line as Thomas Lynch when he refused to defend Proposition 14, which was the measure to eliminate the Rumford Act.  So I think this is on all fours, and I'm following the same principle. The court can rule on this if they wish.  The advocates are quite vigorous on both sides.

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