Fresno County sheriff, DA support death-penalty reform
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims and District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp Thursday hailed the submission of 593,000 signatures that will likely ensure that the Death Penalty Reform and Savings initiative appears on the ballot in November.
The measure, which backers said is supported by law enforcement leaders and crime victims, promises to eliminate “waste, delays and inefficiencies” in the state’s death penalty process. Among the ways it says it would do so would be by expanding the number of attorneys available to work death penalty cases, allow the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to house death row inmates in less costly housing with fewer special privileges, and require condemned inmates to work and pay restitution to victims.
Reform would make sure crime victims are given justice for the suffering they’ve endured.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims
Mims said the measure would make sure crime victims “are given justice for the suffering they’ve endured.” She added that the death penalty is needed to protect the state’s peace officers, who “are on the front lines in keeping Californians safe,” and “helps us in the fight against the worst criminals in society.”
Said Smittcamp: “Seven hundred death row inmates have murdered more than 1,000 victims.”
The Death Penalty Reform initiative is opposed by the Innocence Project and Wrongfully Convicted Individuals, who argue that the initiative “will greatly increase the risk that California executes an innocent person.” The group argues that since 1973, 156 people have been exonerated and freed from the nation’s death rows, and says three of them were in California.