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News Scan

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Prop. 36 Forum: CJLF President Michael Rushford took part in a KQED Radio forum today in opposition to California Proposition 36. He was joined by Prop 36 proponents San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, and Stanford Law School lecturer Mike Romano, and fellow opponent Marin County Sheriff Bob Doyle. Prop. 36 would weaken the state's Three Strikes sentencing law by making habitual criminals whose third conviction is for a non-violent, non-serious felony ineligible for a third strike sentence of 25-years-to-life. If passed the measure would eliminate the discretion of the District Attorney and trial judge to determine if a convicted felon with two priors for violent or serious crimes is enough of a threat to public safety to justify the third strike sentence.  The measure would authorize the re-sentencing and the likely release of over 3,000 of CA's 8,800 third strike felons. The link to the audio is here. The current CJLF Advisory which reviews Prop. 36 is here.

Jury Recommends Death for CA Arsonist: The Associated Press headlines report that a jury recommended the death sentence for California arsonist Rickie Lee Fowler Friday. Fowler was convicted of arson and five counts of first-degree murder in August. The fire Fowler set burned more than 91,000 acres and 1,000 buildings over nine days in 2003. Fowler was serving a sentence for burglary when charged, and was sentenced to three 25 to life terms for sodomizing an inmate while awaiting trial for the fire. A judge will decide on the jury sentencing recommendation in an upcoming hearing.

CA Death Row Inmates Have Taken More Than 1000 Lives: Pacovilla Corrections Blog has this  response to claims that justice would be served by passage of Proposition 34, which would abolish the death penalty and make life without parole the sentence for aggravated murder.  The piece notes that the 729 killers on death row were convicted of murdering at least 1279 people. Of those, at least 230 were children, 75 were between the ages of 18-20, and 82 were older than 65. At least 211 of their victims were raped, 319 were robbed, 66 were executed, and 47 were tortured. The total includes 43 law enforcement officers and 7 security guards. 11 of the murderers were sentenced to death for killing fellow inmates. 14 death row inmates in California are responsible for about 300 additional murders they were not sentenced to death for.

Phil. Killer Granted Stay of Execution, New Penalty Phase: Sheila Steffen of CNN headlines reports that condemned  murderer Terrance Williams was granted a stay of execution and new penalty trial by Philadelphia Judge M. Teresa Sarmina Friday. Williams had been convicted of beating his victim to death with a tire iron, and was scheduled to be executed October 3. The killing was considered part of a robbery, but recently claims were made that the victim had sexually abused Williams beginning at six years old. Judge Sarmina found Williams' verdict may have been different had the abuse allegations not been withheld from the trial.

NY Association Fights Against Parole for Cop Killers: Mary Murphy of Pix 11 News reports the families of murderer police officers are forced to relive the pain of losing their loved ones biannually when preparing victim impact statements for the New York Parole Board. The Patrolman's Benevolent Association (PBA) has been working to ensure cop killers do not receive parole. A new link on the PBA's official website titled "Keep Cop Killers in Jail" lists inmates still serving time for murdering an officer who were convicted between 1968 and the present has generated more than 200,000 letters to the NY State Division of Parole.

OH Man Pleads Not Guilty in Triple Murder: The Associated Press reports Curtis Clinton has pleaded not guilty of strangling an Ohio woman and her two children Thursday. Clinton is charged with killing a mother and her 3-year-old and 18-month-old children in their home. Clinton has previously plead guilty to the strangling death of another Ohio woman and served 13 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. Clinton could face the death penalty if convicted.

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The 729 on death row murdered at least 1,279 people, with 230 children. 43 were police officers. 211 were raped, 319 were robbed, 66 were killed in execution style, and 47 were tortured. 11 murdered other inmates.

The arguments in support of Pro. 34, the ballot measure to abolish the death penalty, are exaggerated at best and, in most cases, misleading and false.

No “savings.” Alleged savings ignore increased life-time medical costs for aging inmates and require decreased security levels and housing 2-3 inmates per cell rather than one. Rather than spending 23 hours/day in their cell, inmates will be required to work. These changes will lead to increased violence for other inmates and guards and prove unworkable for these killers. Also, without the death penalty, the lack of incentive to plead the case to avoid the death penalty will lead to more trial and related costs and appeals.

No “accountability.” Max earnings for any inmate would amount to $383/year (assuming 100% of earnings went to victims), divided by number of qualifying victims. Hardly accounts for murdering a loved one.

No “full enforcement” as 729 inmates do not receive penalty given them by jurors. Also, for the 34,000 inmates serving life sentences, there will be NO increased penalty for killing a guard or another inmate. They’re already serving a life sentence.

Efforts are also being made to get rid of life sentences. (Human Rights Watch, Old Behind Bars, 2012.) This would lead to possible paroles for not only the 729 on death row, but the 34,000 others serving life sentences. On 9/30/12, Brown passed the first step, signing a bill to allow 309 inmates with life sentences for murder to be paroled after serving as little as 15 years. Life without parole is meaningless. Remember Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan. Convicted killers get out and kill again, such as Darryl Thomas Kemp, Kenneth Allen McDuff, and Bennie Demps.

Arguments of innocence bogus. Can’t identify one innocent person executed in CA. Can’t identify one person on CA’s death row who has exhausted his appeals and has a plausible claim of innocence. See http://cadeathpenalty.webs.com/

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