Here we go again! I’m referring to the Register-Pajaronian, July 19 article appearing on the front page regarding “Proposition 34.”
In 1978 the California voters approved the death penalty and still after number of tries to abolish it, here it is 34 years later, 2012 and it is going to be on the ballot again in November.
When vicious crimes are committed against other people, the perpetrators are tried, found guilty, and given the death sentence and 25 to 30 years or more, they are still waiting for their sentence to be carried out. And why? Because they continue to file appeal, after appeal, after appeal for years and years. The laws governing or allowing this to go on, should be changed.
I truly believe that any individual, committing a vicious crime, tried, a jury says they are guilty and the sentence is death. There should be no more than two appeals and the death sentence should be carried out within one year from the date of the sentence. The idea that it is taking decades for a sentence to be carried out (if ever), tells me that our justice system is in bad need of reconstruction.
The proponents of Proposition 34, say the State of California could save $100 million if the death penalty was abolished. Well, the state could save millions of dollars if the laws regarding appeals were changed so that inmates could not file appeals for decades. The death sentences should be enforced within a reasonable time and I believe 12 months from date of the sentence sounds reasonable to me.
California’s death chamber has been idle for the past five years or longer, and why? Because of protracted legal challenges of lethal injection practices and a nationwide shortage of the key drug used in the three-injection procedure. The powers that be should stop dragging their feet and change the procedure.
Opponents of the death penalty say executing a criminal is inhumane, that they are caused pain. Well, excuse me! What kind of pain did the criminal inflict on his victim? I’m sure it was far from being painless. Did he care? I doubt it. He probably enjoyed watching them suffer.
A statement made in 2010 (I think that was the year), by Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, is probably right. Mr. Dieter said, “In jurors’ mind, they can vote for a death sentence without the worry that 10 years later somehow new evidence (of innocence) might emerge. In California, that inmate is not going to be executed in that time and probably is never going to be executed.” And if the law or laws regarding appeals is not changed, Mr. Dieter is right.
As of May 2012 there are 723 inmates on Death Row. I believe in the death penalty. I believe the death penalty sentences should be carried out/enforced and not 30 years later. Mr. Scheidegger is right. Limit the number of times a defendant may appeal. I believe there should only be, at the most, two appeals and these have to be within six months after the date of the sentence and the sentence to enforced within 12 months after sentencing. Other states that have the death penalty can carry out that sentence in six years. It seems to me that California should be able to do the same. So why isn’t our criminal justice able to do the same?
The 27th District Assembly Member Bill Monning stressed that the passage of the law would not be a get-out-of-jail free card for condemned inmates and then he said, “Nobody is walking away from death row. That is explicit and unequivocal.” He has me just a little confused. Explicit means, free from all vagueness and unequivocal means, leaving on doubt. Well, does that mean that the inmates are to remain on death row?
The death penalty could be an effective deterrent to violent crimes if the State of California would enforce death sentences in a timely manner. Since California reinstated capital punishment in 1978 (34 years), only thirteen inmates have been executed and records show that not one of those 13 was innocent.
How can anyone really believe that “life without parole is a pretty server punishment” for criminals that really deserve to die. Why should they continue to live and see their loved ones, while victims of the crime continue to suffer and never have closure. Their loved ones are in a cemetery.
The death penalty should not be abolished, it should be enforced. Money should not be wasted on Proposition 34.
Juanita Lawrence is a resident of Watsonville. Her opinions are her own and do not necessarily represent those of the Register-Pajaronian.
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