California Candidates Speak to Death Penalty

Here is the portion of the transcript from the Wednesday gubernatorial debate in California on the issue of the death penalty. [Ed. The source text was all in capital letters, so we changed it to lower case to make it more readable, but some uncapitalized letters will seem strange.]

Bottom line: Arianna and Canejo are opposed to the death penalty. Bustamante and the Republicans favor it. Camejo also opposes three strikes laws when minor crimes are the third strike.

Shandobil: the next question is from john myers, directed toward arianna huffington.

Myers: Ms. Huffington, one of the most solemn jobs of a governor is his or hers involvement in the sentence for death. You've called for a moratorium on capital punishment because of a racial disparity in the process and factually innocent people sentenced to death. Are you philosophically opposed to the death penalty or its application.

Huffington: I'm philosophically opposed to the death penalty and very opposed to the way it has been applied in california and across the country. At a time when new dna testing has known that innocent people are being put to death by government, I absolutely would want a moratorium. The only reason we do not have more elected officials asking for a moratorium is because they only follow the polling results and they are spineless to speak their own minds and hearts. That is we need independent discussion on the issues of death penalty and others in the state.

Myers: you would commute death penalties out there, is that correct, by being philosophically opposed?

Huffington: I would have to change the law. As a governor, I have to ensure that the laws are being imposed properly. But I would actually go out there and use the bullet pulpit to convince the people of california of what is right. That is a power that the governor has, the power of the pulpit, to create a new consensus around the issue as has happened around the issue of the moratorium all around the country.

Shandobil: thank you. For the first rebuttal we go to the lieutenant governor.

Bustamante: I support the death penalty. But I would give every person who is convicted every opportunity to try to prove they're innocence.

Shandobil: okay. Senator mcclintock?

Mcclintock: I'm the author of the current lethal injection death penalty. I support it wholeheartedly. It is the advent of dna testing that should give us greater confidence in the legal process. And it is of utmost importance to the security of the law abiding people of this state to be protected from violent pled sores that is the primary responsibility of government.

Shandobil: peter camejo.

Camejo: in illinois they found about 15 innocent people on death row. I'm totally opposed to the death penalty as are most advanced industrial nations in the world, if not all of them, except the united states. But I'm also against three strikes where we put a person in jail for live for stealing $150 worth of videos. When our court ruled that that was unjust, governor davis appealed it to the supreme court to make them remain in prison for life for a minor crime. These policies we have on the death penalty, on three strikes are wrong.

Shandobil: okay. And the final chance to repute that question goes to mr. ueberroth.

Ueberroth: I'm in favor of the death penalty. And I think we have to use all science to ensure we do not make any mistakes. That is not why I'm running for governor. I'm running for governor because we're in terrible shape, a crisis, and that is what the recall is about. The recall is about a state of crisis, tighten the belt and get new revenue so we can operate. And we'll do all of the social issues we want to do. Right now we want to send our jobs out, talk to people in the street, talk to small business. They will be not wanting me to talk about the death penalty. They want to talk about how to protect their jobs and businesses. [Empasis supplied]

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