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A Mother's Plea on Prop. 34

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Sandy Friend has this op-ed in the Sacramento Bee:

Michael Lyons was my 8-year-old angel of a son. He was sweet, loved his family and had a smile that would melt a glacier. When I think of that smile, it eases my heart for only so long because I will grieve over his loss for the rest of my life.

Michael died an unimaginable death. He endured 70 purposeful, nonlethal stab wounds to his little body. He was sodomized viciously. After more than 10 hours of torture, Michael's throat was slit, his body dumped into a river.

Every night I pray that no mother should be forced to experience my lifetime of anguish since Michael was murdered. Though I had to hear the grisly description again of how a vicious repeat offender tortured and murdered my son in court, I was relieved that justice was served when a jury found Michael's killer guilty and sentenced him to death.

While the emotional wounds never heal, there are better days than others.
But my healing has been ripped apart by the prospect that Michael's killer won't see justice if Proposition 34 passes this November, which would repeal California's voter-imposed system of capital punishment.

It is beyond insulting that liberal special interest groups, including the ACLU, believe my son's killer deserves leniency and compassion. Proponents of Proposition 34, including The Bee's editorial board, patronize victims' families by telling us they have empathy for our suffering while hiding behind specious claims to justify giving the most vicious criminals a lifetime of health care and housing, benefits that too many middle-class families cannot afford.
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When you vote on Proposition 34 this November, ask yourself what you would want if it was your child who was brutally raped, tortured and murdered. Please stand up for victims and reserve the death penalty for California's worst killers.

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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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