Marcos Breton has this column in the Sacramento Bee with the above title.
I covered that story in 1996, when 8-year-old Michael Lyons of Yuba City was murdered by an already-convicted violent sex offender named Robert Boyd Rhoades.
All these years later and I still can't get a single image out of my mind: Michael's little footprints on the interior windshield of Rhoades' truck. The poor little thing frantically pressed his feet against Rhoades' windshield as he undoubtedly wailed and begged for his life while that monster did what he did to him and exerted complete power over Michael in the nightmare of his final hours on this earth.* * *Modern DNA evidence has revealed the innocence of long-time death row prisoners in other states. How many of the 13 men executed in California have been found innocent by DNA evidence?
Do I believe it anymore when the California legislative analyst or others cite massive cost savings to issues as complex as repealing the death penalty?
Men like Rhoades, "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez and others can't simply be put in the general prison population. You're still going to have to segregate them and pay extra for their quarters, whether you call it death row or not. You're going to have to pay for their health care and other expenses.
The pro-Prop. 34 people sound like those who believe that if we just legalize all drugs, that evil, vicious drug dealers will be neutralized. It's a pie-in-the-sky argument. Evil lives whether we want to believe it or not.
If we just distill this unseemly business down to cost savings, we will always be the better for it, right?
Consider the victims of offenders currently on California's death row: 255 children; 43 police officers, 235 people raped and murdered and 90 tortured and murdered.
Fewer than 2 percent of murders in California become death penalty cases. Instead of repealing the death penalty, the worst of the worst criminals in California could be put to death much more quickly and cheaply if the state simply switched to a protocol where one drug is administered by lethal injection. But that change in protocols has been locked up in the courts.