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Press Conference on Initiative Petition Submission

Press conferences were held at county registrars of voters around the state as we turned in the petitions.  Sean Emery of the Orange County Register has this story on the turn-in there.

Here are photos from the Sacramento event, by our own Marissa Cohen.  Click on the photo for a larger view.

Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert introduces the measure and discusses its significance.

Marc Klaas, father of Polly Klaas, who at 12 years old was kidnapped out of her own bedroom and murdered, and Phyllis Loya, mother of police officer and former Marine Larry Lasater, who was killed in the line of duty.


Some other guy, answering a question about the initiative.


The guy answering the question looks like he's about 37.

I protest.

If the initiative is approved, how does one go about finding criminal defense appellate counsel willing to handle these cases? Wouldn't a concerted effort by these attorneys to refuse DP cases nullify the initiative's speedy proceeding reforms? And hasn't this problem played a role (perhaps a significant role) in bringing California's DP procedure to a grinding halt?

The non-capital appellate panel is aging and poorly paid. In all likelihood there will be mass resignations from that panel if the initiative passes. It would be hard to conceive of a measure more likely to dry up the pool of available criminal appellate and habeas attorneys in California than this one.

If the availability of the death penalty is left to the mercies of the defense bar, then of course there won't be any. But the defense bar doesn't have the last word. The people and the courts do.

The people support the death penalty, and the courts have upheld it.

Judges have the authority to assign counsel to cases on pain of being relieved as an officer of the court (i.e., disbarred). If lawyers can spend pro bono time defending rain forests, they can spend pro bono time on death penalty cases.

If they don't want to, too bad. Many of them don't like CLE classes, either. But the profession has the right to impose obligations on those with the privilege of belonging to it.

I will address this issue in a later post.

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