As one of the handful of lawyers in this community to have tried multiple death-penalty cases, and to have represented death-row inmates in post-conviction proceedings, I was gratified to see the editorial board’s endorsement of Proposition 62 (abolition) and rejection of the fixes proposed by advocates of Proposition 66.
As the bipartisan California Commission on the Administration of Justice recognized in 2008, when it adopted then Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George’s depiction of the system as “dysfunctional,” capital punishment is outmoded and unworkable. Then Gov. Peter Wilson introduced a series of costly reforms in 1998, but they failed to solve systemic flaws, and there is no reason to believe more “reforms” will work.
I would add to your candid summary of the issues that abolition would put California in the same company as 19 other states and the 110-nation World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, which includes Mexico, Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom. Life in prison serves valid penological interests, and abolition should save an estimated $3 billion over the next 20 years. The time is right to end the cycle of violence.
Phillip H. Cherney, Visalia