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Judge Finds DP Repeal Arguments "False and Misleading"

| 6 Comments
In the California initiative process, proponents and opponents have wide latitude in the arguments they make in the voter pamphlet.  If they go too far over over the top, though, judicial intervention is available.

Yesterday, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley issued a tentative ruling on a challenge to the ballot arguments in favor of Proposition 34 to repeal the death penalty:

The Court agrees with Petitioners that the challenged statements regarding the "redirection" of "savings" are false and misleading in that they imply the $100 million in appropriations are being funded from "savings" generated through elimination of the death penalty. The $100 million are appropriations from the General Fund that are unrelated to any "savings" that may (or may not) be achieved by Proposition 34.
At a hearing today, Judge Frawley confirmed the tentative ruling.

The judge labeled other arguments "hyperbole," which in practice means they are not so far over the top as to warrant judicial intervention.

I've been fighting the pervasively dishonest anti-death-penalty movement for over a quarter century now.  I've caught them in lies many times.  This is the first time we have had an actual court judgment to that effect, though.

6 Comments

C'mom, Kent, lies are the only way they have a chance. Are you not a sporting fellow?

P.S. They don't really have a chance anyway, but I'm trying to be Mr. Nicey about it.

Decencyevolves:

Wow, what a huge change, Kent. The judge made the Attorney General delete a whole syllable from the ballot explanation! Here is a less fevered interpretation of the same event, courtesy of the Sacramento Bee:

August 10, 2012

Judge upholds rulings in CA death penalty ballot wording

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy M. Frawley today affirmed two tentative decisions he issued on the death penalty ballot measure. One maintains the wording on the initiative's ballot label and title and summary. The other orders a slight change in the ballot arguments.

The judge reaffirmed his position in the tentative decision that there was nothing misleading in the state attorney general's wording on the ballot label and in the title and summary of Proposition 34.

The Nov. 6 ballot measure would repeal the death penalty in California. The challenge to the wording was presented by the state prosecutors' association as well as district attorneys Jan Scully of Sacramento, Steve Cooley of Los Angeles and Elizabeth Egan of Fresno.

In a second petition filed by prosecutors and statewide police management and rank-and-file groups, Frawley ordered that the death penalty opponents who qualified the measure for the ballot cannot say in their arguments that the initiative "redirects" $100 million in general fund money to front-line law enforcement from savings generated by the elimination of capital punishment.
Frawley said the $100 million appropriation would be "unrelated to ... any savings achieved by Propostion 34." He ordered the Secretary of State's Office to change the wording from "redirects" to "directs." Deputy Attorney General Ryan Marcroft said he would have no problem with the change.

Decencyevolves:

It also would be nice if you would publicize your losses as thoroughly as your very minor victories in these Prop 34 lawsuits, for those of us who are trying to keep track. After all, you never let us know that the Court of Appeals, and then the California Supreme Court both summarily denied your single statement challenges to the initiative.

Wrong again. We didn't take the single-subject case to the California Supreme Court.

While the change in the wording ordered by the judge is small, the finding that one of the principal arguments of the proponent is a lie is quite important. The Bee reporter doesn't seem to have grasped that.

Oh, and by no stretch of the imagination can the OP be characterized as "fevered."

Decencyevolves:

Sorry, you didn't take Loya to the California Supreme Court. You just lost it at the Court of Appeals, and didn't bother reporting on it.

You lost Winchell, your effort to compel the State to adopt a single drug protocol, at the California Court of Appeal and then lost again at the California Supreme Court. While you announced the initiation of these two actions with much fanfare (I believe you called them ground-breaking), I heard nothing but crickets here when you lost.

A court can deny a prerogative writ for a number of reasons other than the merits, and the denial sets no precedent. Hence all the arguments we made remain available for a case that the court may deem a more appropriate vehicle.