On Friday, the Los Angeles City Council released a Resolution of Support for Proposition 62, which would repeal the death penalty in California and replace it with a sentence of life without parole. The council even went a step further, and signed a second resolution formally opposing Proposition 66, which proponents say would speed up the execution process by limiting appeals.
The council’s action comes after 38 newspapers from all over the state, representing rural and urban areas, conservative and liberal ideologies, with large and small readerships, have endorsed Prop 62, and urged a no vote on Prop 66. In fact, every major newspaper in the state has endorsed Prop 62.
The reasons are varied — from urging voters to stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on a broken system, to pointing out how discriminatory it is, to how it risks executing an innocent person, to the fact that it’s a punishment that does not deter crime.
“The death penalty not only fails to serve any practical function, but squanders billions of taxpayer dollars that could be better used elsewhere.”
San Bernardino County Sun
“The wise thing to do is to shut down death row and join the other states and nations that rely on life sentences without parole to punish the worst crimes.”
San Diego Union Tribune
“Government must function to value and preserve life whenever possible, even among those who have acted unforgivably to the contrary. Beyond arguments of cost savings and critiques of a biased justice system, a civilized society must stand against institutionalized brutality and murder.”
The Los Angeles Times has written four editorials endorsing Prop 62, the most recent focusing on the strong possibility that, contrary to what death penalty supporters often say, an innocent man, Thomas Thompson, was executed.
“Thompson’s 1998 execution points to one of the most compelling of the many reasons to abolish California’s death penalty under November’s Proposition 62. A criminal justice system in which it’s often difficult to establish incontrovertible guilt should not be the vehicle for deciding life or death.”
Los Angeles Times
Nine member of Congress, ten state legislators, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, the mayors of San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Santa Barbara, Davis, and the mayor-elect of Sacramento have all endorsed 62.
Thirteen deans of the top law schools in California have also endorsed the proposition, along with former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti, and former California Attorney General John Van de Kamp.