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Calif. Death Penalty Moratorium Bill Killed

Republicans in the California Senate have killed a bill that would have imposed a three year moratorium on executions in the state.

There are a lot of reasons to suspend or eliminate California's death penalty. Elisabeth Semel, director of UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law's Death Penalty Clinic names a few in this op-ed last week:

...the line that divides those we execute and those we do not remains as arbitrary and capricious as it was in 1972, when the U.S. Supreme Court declared it constitutionally intolerable.

...each of the 11 executions after 1977 cost Californians a quarter of a billion dollars. The article found that, for institutional reasons, the cost of housing death-sentenced inmates is three times that of the general population. A capital trial costs at least three times as much as a non-capital murder trial. It takes tens of millions of dollars annually to pay for courts, prosecutors and defense counsel.

....Despite recruiting efforts, the California Supreme Court still cannot secure willing and qualified lawyers to represent more than 200 of those currently on death row who will wait four to eight years for appointment of counsel to handle their cases. In short, although we are spending an enormous amount on our death penalty system, we are not spending nearly enough.

California has more than 3,000 prisoners who were eligible for the death penalty but received sentences of life thout the possibility of parole. The 645 on its death row should join them. It would benefit the citizens of California and it would be the right thing to do.

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  • Re: Calif. Death Penalty Moratorium Bill Killed (none / 0) (#1)
    by scarshapedstar on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 09:31:50 AM EST
    They killed a bill that was supposed to stop killings. Friendly bunch. I'm sure the murder rate will drop precipitously now!

    Re: Calif. Death Penalty Moratorium Bill Killed (none / 0) (#2)
    by Patrick on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 10:34:21 AM EST
    Scar, look at San Francisco. The DA pledges not to seek the death penalty a voila, they have the highest homicide rate ever, IIRC. Causation or correlation?

    Re: Calif. Death Penalty Moratorium Bill Killed (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 10:42:39 AM EST
    Scar, look at San Francisco. The DA pledges not to seek the death penalty a voila, they have the highest homicide rate ever, IIRC. Causation or correlation?
    Well, if you're going to try and make an assertion like that (which I think is pretty ridiculous, but anyway), we can also look at the murder statistics in states that do have the death penalty versus those that do not, as well as those who execute the most people in the states that have the death penalty. States WITH the dp have overwhelmingly higher homicide rates than those that do not, and almost all states with the highest execution rates (TX, LA, FL, to name a few) have higher homicide rates than those that execute more sporadically. So gee, causation or correlation?

    Re: Calif. Death Penalty Moratorium Bill Killed (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 10:48:08 AM EST
    Actually, rope, that's not true. The available research shows the opposite. States with the death penalty have a higher incidence of violent crime and murder. Check ncadp or death penalty info Violence betets violence. The death penalty is not a deterrent. If I get some time later, I'll post links to some studies.

    Re: Calif. Death Penalty Moratorium Bill Killed (none / 0) (#5)
    by scarshapedstar on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 12:49:52 PM EST
    Scar, look at San Francisco. The DA pledges not to seek the death penalty a voila, they have the highest homicide rate ever, IIRC. Causation or correlation?
    Uh... you don't recall correctly. You're talking to a New Orleanian, after all. Murder and executions are both fairly common 'round here, or at least were pre-Katrina.

    Re: Calif. Death Penalty Moratorium Bill Killed (none / 0) (#6)
    by Johnny on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 01:53:50 PM EST
    Causation or correlation?
    False dichotomy, you provide nowhere near enough information for us to make a valid assessment of your claim. Existing reseach shows us that states with the DP exhibit greater violence. Could be a chicken/egg thing for all I know.

    Re: Calif. Death Penalty Moratorium Bill Killed (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 05:55:27 PM EST
    Actually, rope, that's not true. The available research shows the opposite. States with the death penalty have a higher incidence of violent crime and murder. Check ncadp or death penalty info Violence betets violence. The death penalty is not a deterrent. If I get some time later, I'll post links to some studies.
    That's exactly what I was trying to say. Were you referring to me with your post? I was refuting Patrick's assertions that since San Francisco stopped using the death penalty, their murder rate has gone up and that the two are related. Sorry if I was confusing up there, but I'm as anti-death penalty as they come, and would never argue FOR it!

    Re: Calif. Death Penalty Moratorium Bill Killed (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 06:16:45 PM EST
    Sorry, I misread you and thought you said the opposite. I'm glad we agree. And we are right. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Re: Calif. Death Penalty Moratorium Bill Killed (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Jan 21, 2006 at 03:24:29 AM EST
    First off, this was done in the Assembly, not the Senate. Second, it wasn't just Republicans who bottled up this measure. Sadly, many Democrats are a part of the problem as well. Too many of them are spineless when it comes to the death penalty.