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As Sacramento dawdles, DAs revolt

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SF Chrontrarian Debra Saunders has this column with the above title in the Chron:

California's death penalty has been in limbo since 2006 when a federal judge stayed the execution of Michael Morales, who was sentenced to death for the brutal 1981 murder and rape of 17-year-old Terri Winchell. The judge was fearful lest the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol cause Morales undue pain. Since then, a number of states have switched to a one-drug protocol. Why hasn't California? The answer could be that Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris don't want the death penalty to work.

Brown and Harris are personally opposed to the death penalty but, when they campaigned for office in 2010, both pledged to carry out the law. They're not exactly knocking themselves out to do so.

In 2009, Ohio adopted a one-drug protocol for executions. By administering a lethal dose of barbiturates, Ohio made it harder for frivolous appeals to keep the state from enforcing its laws. Several states followed suit, including Washington. Washington is important because the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco refused to stay a single-drug execution in Washington state in 2010.

The District Attorneys of Los Angeles and San Mateo Counties have filed motions (based on a legal theory laid out by yours truly) to have the Superior Court order the executions with a one-drug protocol in conjunction with the date-setting procedure.
San Mateo County, BTW, is the county south of San Francisco.  It's where SFO airport is.

5 Comments

Apropos,is there any news regarding the CJLF's effort to get the referendum cancelled due to there being too many issues tied up in one referendum question?

The petition was denied.

Even before James Holmes made his appearance, but especially afterward, the referendum is going down in flames.

All we have to do is ask Californians, "When the next Aurora massacre happens in a theater near you, or maybe one you're in or your kids are in, do you want to tell the jury that it cannot even consider the death penalty, no matter how many corpses the killer leaves, no matter how many of them are children, and no matter how cruel and calculated he was?"

If that question is in voters' minds as they go to the polls, Prop 34 is headed to such an historic defeat that abolitionists may, for once, have to come face-to-face with reality.

Indeed, what I would do is have the father of the six-year old girl Holmes murdered make a TV add asking exactly that question. I heard him in an interview the day after the massacre saying that he hoped the killer got what he gave his little girl, so he's on board.

The abbies will have no answer. They can go on and on all they want about cost and racism and all their other stock complaints. The gravity of the father's question will blow them away.

To tell you the truth, I'm happy the referendum is still on the ballot. I just hope the abbies don't wake up in time to try to get it off.

The death penalty is right, not because a grieving father wants it, but because it is really the only thing that approximates justice for these horrible crimes. And not just the Colorado massacre. Every day in America, people are murdered out of pure evil. Let justice be served.

You are correct that the abolitionists really have no answer. At the end of the day, no one really buys what these scolds have to say. The awfulness of murder generally puts their arguments to shame--a crime like this only serves to put an exclamation point on it.

Kent, I just have to say Californians need to wake up and see what kinda of sick individual that resides on Death Row. They are the reason we have an option from life in prison to death. My son was brutally murdered at eight years old, but even if my son wasn't murdered is still have to deal with the pure evil that walks amongst us. In 1993 Eric Houston walk into our high school and shot 3 students, one teacher an injured 10 others student. He also held 80 students hostage for hour before giving up to the police. He recieved the only punishment that fit his crimes the Death Penalty. I agree we really show do commercials of what our loved ones had to go thru, and remind them how lucky they are that it wasn't them or their loved ones.
Sandy Friend
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