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Pro and Con Op-Eds on Prop 34

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The San Francisco Chronicle has pro and con op-eds on Proposition 34, the death penalty repeal initiative.

The No article is written by San Mateo DA Steve Wagstaffe and Marc Klaas, the father of the victim in one of California's most notorious cases.  Among other points, they note the hypocrisy of claiming high costs as a reason to get rid of the death penalty when the same people are the ones who have needlessly driven up the costs.

The Yes article is written by defeated ex-DA Gil Garcetti, who is getting much media attention by joining up with the ACLU et al.  He asserts, "California's death penalty is broken beyond repair, hideously expensive, and inevitably carries the risk of executing an innocent person."

In reality, we have known for years how to fix the death penalty, and the needed fixes would save money, not cost money.  The needed reforms have never made it out of committee because Garcetti's new allies in the criminals' lobby have always succeeded in having them killed there.

As for innocence, the proponents' ballot arguments cite two cases:  a Texas case and a noncapital case, both of which are irrelevant.  Out of nearly a thousand California capital cases, they can't cite a single one where a person convicted and sentenced to death in this state is known to be actually innocent.  Zero out of nearly a thousand.  What does that tell you?

3 Comments

If costs are the be-all and end-all, let's set dates for those who have gone thru all their appeals. The costs to get them there are sunk, and there will only be ROI if these guys are executed.

But what's more important than money is the rule of law. If DP opponents in opportune areas like the courts and the governor's mansion can thwart the law, what does that say about the people's right to govern themselves? Caving to these liberal, criminal-coddling elites would cost us a lot more than money.

It will take more than the anti death penalty bent of TNT's new show --"Major Crimes", I guess. The chief consultant to the show is former LA DA and Prop 34 supporter, Gil Garcetti.

That said, after watching the show some more, while I think there is an abolitionist bent--based on cost etc.--it also illustrates the leveraging power at times of capital punishment in terms of making plea bargains.

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