Californians Narrowly Vote to Speed Up Death Penalty Process

Death PenaltyA measure to speed up executions in California was projected to pass Tuesday night, according to the Associated Press.

Proposition 66, which aims to cap death-sentence appeals at five years, stands at 51.1 percent of the vote. While such a slim margin of victory would usually suggest the electorate is divided, a competing measure to end the death penalty altogether was rejected by 53.4 percent of voters (ballots are still being counted, so totals may change).

“California voters not only want to keep the death penalty intact but they want it to work as intended,” said Anne Marie Schubert, Sacramento County district attorney, who called Prop. 66’s lead “insurmountable.”

Prop. 66 speeds up the appeals process by expanding the number of courts and attorneys able to hear and try death penalty appeals to meet a five-year cap on the appeals process that currently takes decades. A court order could be sought when cases drag on.

Stance stands out

In a cycle when voters chose a cornucopia of liberal policies, like implementing a $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes, extending a tax on the highest incomes, legalizing recreational marijuana, placing further restrictions on guns and ammo and upholding a ban on plastic bags, the death penalty position stands out.

In fact, voters at the same time resoundingly approved a measure that would allow (but not guarantee) early parole for thousands of “non-violent” inmates, showing that Californians’ soft spot hardens when it comes to those considered the worst of the worst.

“Californians have long been a bit schizoid when it comes to the death penalty,” said John J. Pitney, Jr., a Roy P. Crocker professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College.

Pitney recalled Democrat Dianne Feinstein’s campaign ad from the 1990 gubernatorial race. Feinstein, who is currently a U.S. senator, but at the time had just finished a second term as mayor of San Francisco, pitched herself as pro-choice, pro-environment and “the only Democrat for governor for the death penalty.”

Good policy?

While some debate the morality of the death penalty, others argue it is an ineffective policy.

According to data provided by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, no one has been executed since 2006. The vast majority of Death Row inmates will die of other causes long before the state kills them (Prop. 66 will presumably speed this process up, although there’s still legal complications with the lethal injection process).

And it’s costly: The state spends $55 million each year on death penalty appeals, for both prosecutors and court-appointed defense attorneys.

Opponents use the inefficiency and cost of the current system as grounds for abolition of the death penalty. But that may have ultimately been their undoing, said Pitney.

“In recent years, opponents of the death penalty have argued that it is too inefficient and costly,” Pitney said. “That argument may have backfired, at least in this state. Instead of abolishing it, voters backed a measure to make it more efficient.”

Comments

  1. Hang ’em high, hang ’em fast!! Clean out the country club.

  2. Could we “outsource” executions to ISIS?

  3. “Californians Narrowly Vote to Speed Up Death Penalty Process”

    But Californians did vote to speed up the stall.
    GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME!
    Because had the vote for prop.62 squeek by to repeal the death penalty, socialist progresssives would be shouting it from the mountain tops and chisling it in stone as the final will of the People.
    Death penalty opponents were probably angling for a demograghics shift, since Mexico does not employ execution for capatal offenses.

    • Democratic process is “flexible”. 51% is too close, so the public can be ignored, or racketeering frat politicians can keep holding elections until the Baal legislature gets the numbers it wants to justify eliminating the death penalty.

  4. ABDUCTION II

    Snuff killers like Davis, Coffman, Marlow, Suff and Jed III are an occult legislature protected species.

    Wouldn’t be worth the trade off to service elite entertainment in exchange for a lifetime of room and board if a felon rendition asset went directly from the crime to the death sentence.

    This would set a precedence for a reason NOT to cooperate with scoundrel leadership the likes of which have plagued California since 1900.

    Every one of these is in need of resources for solidarity pledging whatever frat organization demands this to correctly assimilate Baal protocols, the public be damned, really.

  5. I’m totally onboard with askeptic, Maybe we could “outsource” to Muslim Terrorists. They love to kill people, so why not convicted death penalty cases. AND we could probably get them cheap too.

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