“In California, the death penalty system stopped working many years ago, but taxpayers continue to pay for it,” says Our Revolution, the recently formed political action group started by Bernie Sanders, in its endorsement of Proposition 62.
“Fight crime, not futility,” the San Francisco Chronicle wrote in its editorial supporting Prop 62, and opposing Proposition 66.
For the LA Times,”Something clearly has to be changed. The answer, however, is not to speed up the machinery of death, but to dismantle it. That’s why the Times urges a yes vote on Proposition 62 and a no vote on Proposition 66.”
Of Prop 66, the Times says, ” . . . there are serious doubts that their proposal would achieve the kind of fast-tracking they promise, and critics argue persuasively that the system might become even more expensive. And if it does succeed, it would likely require unacceptable compromises of basic constitutional rights, increasing the chance that innocent people might be put to death . . . .There is too much at risk to speed up the process.”
Finally, the paper says, “The chief reason to abolish the death penalty in California is that it is cruel and unusual punishment, both immoral and inhumane and out of step with ‘evolving standards of decency’ in the United States.”
Also, in Southern California, the Santa Clarita Valley Signal endorsed 62 because “It’s time for residents to recognize that the death penalty is immoral, very likely unfairly applied, and impractical . . . . The state shouldn’t be in the business of killing its own citizens — however heinous may be their acts and however undeserving we believe they are of life.”
Proposition 62, the Justice That Works Act 2016, which will be on the November ballot, would repeal the death penalty in California, and replace it with a sentence of life without parole. It would require inmates to work and pay restitution to victims’ families. The California Legislative Analyst’s office estimates that it will save taxpayers $150 million a year.
As an editorial in the East Bay Times said, “It’s time to end this false promise of justice and replace the death penalty system with life in prison without parole. The only real solution to a failed death penalty is yes on Prop 62.”
The competing death penalty measure on the November ballot is Proposition 66, which claims it would fast-track California’s death penalty system. However, an analysis by Loyola Law School’s Alarcon Advocacy Center reports that it would actually take what is already a complicated capital appeals process and “add two additional layers of review.”
Or, as the Washington, DC newspaper The Hill put it, “Proposition 66 proponents claim their deeply flawed ballot initiative will turbo-charge California’s machinery of death by ensuring that all death penalty appeals are decided within five years. Hogwash.”
The list of people and organizations who have endorsed Prop 62 is long and diverse. From former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, to former California Attorney General John Van de Kamp, to civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, to former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, all are committed to fixing California’s broken death penalty system.
All are in agreement with former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who endorsed 62 saying, “I want to see the death penalty become a relic of the past.”