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Backers of Prop. 34 to repeal death penalty say current system 'too costly to keep going'

Original post made on Oct 23, 2012

Proponents of a measure on the November ballot that would repeal the death penalty in California said Monday the state's current system is far too costly to keep going.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 7:23 AM

Comments (31)

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Posted by Ptown native
a resident of Stoneridge
on Oct 23, 2012 at 8:38 am

How can: ridding the nation of gross murderous people
be more expensive than feeding them 3 squares a day,
full medical and dental health care, lawyers and education
for the 'rest' of their worthless heinus lives?
They are taken better care of than our homeless veterans.
It doesn't make sense. I will certainly vote No. If you take the
death penalty away, what's to deter worse criminals? They
will know there's no real consequence. Please vote No.


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Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2012 at 8:49 am

I agree and I've voted.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2012 at 9:03 am

The government executing one innocent person is one too many. Many innocent people have been executed.


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Posted by Penelope
a resident of Downtown
on Oct 23, 2012 at 9:11 am

The death penalty wouldn't cost so much if we would just kill these freaking people faster and limit the amount of appeals they can apply for. Every time they appeal their case the longer they get to live.

I wish the death penalty was a deterrent but its not. The state of California has only executed 13 people, yet 724 sit on death row. Lets put these people down. Texas in total has executed 487!


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Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 23, 2012 at 9:30 am

mooseturd is a registered user.

John, You are flat wrong. Fewer than ten innocent people have been executed in the U.S. in the last hundred years.


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Posted by Kent Scheidegger
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2012 at 10:06 am

Notice how the initiative proponents do not have a single example of an innocent person sentenced to death in California? They keep talking about cases that either are not capital cases or were tried in other states. As the number of capital judgments in California in the modern era approaches 1000, they still do not have a single relevant case of a demonstrably innocent person.

What does that tell you? California's prosecutors and juries have been extremely careful about not imposing that sentence in cases of any doubt.

Meanwhile, we have cases of no doubt, like serial killer Randy Kraft, caught with the body of the last victim in his car. We can and should limit such cases to one appeal, reserving repeated appeals only for cases with some actual doubt about guilt. If we did that, we could carry out these judgments within a few years in most cases and save huge amounts of money.

We don't need to forgo justice to save money. We can have justice in the worst murder cases for far less than we are paying now.


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Posted by Chris Bernstien
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2012 at 10:16 am

There is no independent, third-party study that exists which backs up any claim that eliminating the death penalty in California will save money. The "study" put forth by the Yes on Prop 34 campaign was conducted by individuals whose opposition to the death penalty is well-known. In other words, they are trying to push their own agenda.

The non-partisan California Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) has studied Prop 34 and while they estimate possible savings under Prop 34, they acknowledge substantial uncertainties in their estimates and admit they could be off by "tens of millions of dollars."


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Posted by Chris Bernstien
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2012 at 10:17 am

The 729 on death row murdered at least 1,279 people, with 230 children. 43 were police officers. 211 were raped, 319 were robbed, 66 were killed in execution style, and 47 were tortured. 11 murdered other inmates.

The arguments in support of Pro. 34, the ballot measure to abolish the death penalty, are exaggerated at best and, in most cases, misleading and false.

No "savings." Alleged savings ignore increased life-time medical costs for aging inmates and require decreased security levels and housing 2-3 inmates per cell rather than one. Rather than spending 23 hours/day in their cell, inmates will be required to work. These changes will lead to increased violence for other inmates and guards and prove unworkable for these killers. Also, without the death penalty, the lack of incentive to plead the case to avoid the death penalty will lead to more trial and related costs and appeals.

No "accountability." Max earnings for any inmate would amount to $383/year (assuming 100% of earnings went to victims), divided by number of qualifying victims. Hardly accounts for murdering a loved one.

No "full enforcement" as 729 inmates do not receive penalty given them by jurors. Also, for the 34,000 inmates serving life sentences, there will be NO increased penalty for killing a guard or another inmate. They're already serving a life sentence.

Efforts are also being made to get rid of life sentences. (Human Rights Watch, Old Behind Bars, 2012.) This would lead to possible paroles for not only the 729 on death row, but the 34,000 others serving life sentences. On 9/30/12, Brown passed the first step, signing a bill to allow 309 inmates with life sentences for murder to be paroled after serving 25 years. Life without parole is meaningless. Remember Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan. Convicted killers get out and kill again, such as Darryl Thomas Kemp, Kenneth Allen McDuff, and Bennie Demps.

Arguments of innocence bogus. Can't identify one innocent person executed in CA. Can't identify one person on CA's death row who has exhausted his appeals and has a plausible claim of innocence. See Web Link


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Posted by Jennifer Waggoner
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2012 at 10:25 am

Thank you for your coverage of Prop 34.

As supporters, the League of Women Voters of California has additional information about our recommendation to *Vote Yes on 34* on our site: Web Link and we're eager to have more Californian's join us in making our state a strong, safe, and just place to live.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 23, 2012 at 10:34 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

"The 729 on death row murdered at least 1,279 people, with 230 children. 43 were police officers. 211 were raped, 319 were robbed, 66 were killed in execution style, and 47 were tortured. 11 murdered other inmates."

So, the death penalty is not a deterrent.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2012 at 11:02 am

Moose,

Even if I take your assumption to be true, you contradict yourself. If the number of innocent people executed is 10, then that is ten too many for me. I said one is too many. In addition, there have been at least 15 people on death row who were later exonerated in the US alone.

Web Link

Chris Bernstien,

I am completely in favor of life sentences without the possibility of parole. To me, the only way a person convicted to such a life sentence to be released would be if that person proved beyond any reasonable doubt that he was innocent, as has been done with DNA evidence. Also, accidents happen anywhere. No system is infallible. They can happen in California, just as they have in Texas and other states.

Web Link

Web Link

My support for proposition 34 has nothing to do cost savings and everything to do with ethics and morality. If costs increase as a result, I would still support it.

I am completely opposed to efforts to eliminate life sentences and I agree with you that we should energetically oppose any such efforts.


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Posted by Not as it seems
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm

This initiative is not exactly as it seems. They claim by changing the law it will save money BUT at the same time this initiative requires $100 million be transferred from the General Fund to the SAFE California fund for the next few years. That means less money in the general fund for education and other items.


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Posted by Ptown native
a resident of Stoneridge
on Oct 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm

The Death penalty IS A DETERENT for 'that' person.
If we actually euthanize these No-Good murderers.
They will not ever kill again.
The other murderers will see that it is a real consequence
and think twice.
The Bible says they should be dispatched to the Creator.
Period.
Let God sort them out.


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Posted by The truth
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm

To Not as it seems:

It's a one time $100 million fund, spread out over four years. The money goes to local law enforcement, something that you probably would support. The initiative itself will save $130 million every year. So yes, there is a cost to the initiative (something that is clear from the ballot language), but it saves more than it will spend.


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Posted by Donna
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2012 at 1:15 pm

For those who are against Yes on 34 I have yet to hear how any one of you will fix the death penalty in Ca? And please dont say streamline it I heard that before. If you do that you would stack more legal battles. More money, stress and more suffering. Even if the yes on 34 is defeated we will be back at square one. All the legal battles will continue regarding the one cocktail drug and mind you most of the companies that supply it will no longer supply drugs that will assist in executions. And so it continues on and on and on. Safe 34 would assist in making our streets safer and keeping those who commit henious crimes behind bars for the rest of their lives. I have a love one in prison so life means life in california believe that he do your fact checking no docubt about it. Yes on 34.


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Posted by Donna
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm

If we had a existing death penalty one could proably argue that it is a deterrent but what death penalty?? Also while you say that initiative proponents do not have a single example of an innocent person sentenced to death in California what proof do you have that all 729 are guilty? You have none so back at you. Also who would sit and contemplate before commiting a murder that if I do this I will get the death penalty? Proably 0. You have 729 death row inmates and counting so there you have it.


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Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Val Vista
on Oct 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I have an idea.... if YOU don't think we should execute some of these scumbags, why don't you keep them in YOUR home?

The death penalty is the perfect deterrent. Not a single executed person has ever committed another crime. Can't get much more perfect than that.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 23, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Well, no one is suggesting that rather than execute we send inmates to people's homes. It's life without parole in prison. And if it is the perfect deterrent, why are there over 700 men and women on death row? Why not one or two or ten? The longest resident has been there since 1978 and is still appealing. Clearly the current plan doesn't work at any level except for the 700+.


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Posted by larry
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 23, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Here is a plan. We work out an agreement with Mexico, or San Salvador, they take our people that are in, or being sent to, death row. We pay them to keep these people in prison, and because they are in prison for life, we can send all the paperwork with them. Mexico makes money, we clean out all the prisons, it's a win win situation for everyone.
As for the Death Penalty here in California, it's not a Death Penalty, it's not even life in prison, it's prison time for a long long time with visits to the court house at the taxpayer expense.


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Posted by Donna
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2012 at 9:16 am

No one is suggesting that they live in any ones homes how silly does that sound? Again if any one has a suggestion on how to improve the death penalty process here in california speak up. You have over 700 on death row so please miss me with the death penalty being a deterrent. If you streamline the process then you will risk the chance of someone being wrongly convicted 120 california exonerations since 1989. What prop 34 is ofering is life without parole for death row inmates. They would have to work and all earnings will go to victims families. The money that is used for a special legal team among other thngs will go to solving cases and crime and even give back in other area's that our broke state obviously cant do.

Life without parole in california is just that. Never again being in society and rightfully so. They need to be among the level 4 max inmates and not be coddled. I totally agree with that.


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Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 24, 2012 at 9:25 am

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

John, you said: "To me, the only way a person convicted to such a life sentence to be released would be if that person proved beyond any reasonable doubt that he was innocent, as has been done with DNA evidence."

Why, on earth, wouldn't the same DNA evidence gathering and analysis prove a capital criminal guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and remove all excuses for following through with the prescribed execution? The excuses are endless for the bleeding hearts that continue to fight for criminals and ignore the victims in these cases. It's serious case of misplaced priorities and is indictive of people who have never been victims or crime or know people who were victims.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 24, 2012 at 9:36 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Liberalism, Certainly we can use DNA to convict and execute. The problem is the current process ensures they live many years at great cost to all of us instead. Better the real criminals are left in some dark corner, forever.

Donna, in case you didn't see it, I was responding to a flippant comment made by parent of two.


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Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 24, 2012 at 11:14 am

mooseturd is a registered user.

It's easy enough to fix California's "death penalty". Limit each convict to one appeal and set the execution date for five years from sentencing. Then DO NOT POSTPONE IT. To those who argue about the drug cocktail used for injection, let the guilty chose between injection and nitrogen asphyxiation. We don't even need a different facility.

Just to keep it honest, I would make it crime for the governor to miss the execution date. Removal from office and registration as an enemy of justice seem appropriate punishment.


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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2012 at 11:52 am

To "liberalism",

The burden for proving guilt has always been higher than for proving innocence.

But for me, even when guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury, I still believe a sentence of life without the possibility of parole should be the maximum. The criminal would still be prevented from perpetrating more crimes (at least to those outside prison). I don't believe in the death penalty as a means to exact revenge. I believe that revenge does more harm than good to a person't spirit.


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Posted by Donna
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Sorry Kathleen I know:) So was I. I certainly dont stand for any criminals not being punished for their crimes. I do have a problem with a system that is broken. I hear all of the time that the death peanlty is a valuable tool. What death penalty? You have 700 and counting on death row it's certainly not a deterrent to commit a crime. I also hear how we should streamline the process. Try that route and it will turn into a legal battle of consitutional rights. It's already a legal battle not even mentioning the 300 inmates who have no legal appellate representation. Prop 34 could be defeated in nov. But you will still have the battle of approving a exectuion process and that can take another year or more to get approved. In the meantime you have limited and top companies who will no longer sell their products to the USA to carry out executions one more legal battle and millions wasted. Then we have the complaint that we take care of them off our taxpayers money news flash we do it any way because the system is broken so why cant we save the 130 million direct that money to solve crimes, make our streets safer? Give back to our schools? Why take a risk that possible there is someone that is innocent? Why create more victims death row inmates have love ones too who are model citizens like you and I. Make it life without parole no one is saying to free them but let's stop spending money on a system that is not working for california.


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Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2012 at 9:33 am

There are so many good ideas posted above that I just couldn't help myself for recommending this: Let all the deathrow inmates out of prison on the same day. Call up the NRA and let them know when. The Boyz will bring their 30-06 with scopes and set up about 300 yards from the gate. Those who escape are innocent. Least cost and most efficient. There now, doesn't that feel better! And it's a deterent!


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Posted by Ptown native
a resident of Stoneridge
on Oct 25, 2012 at 9:44 am

There's lots of us NRA members right here in Ptown.
We are the NRA.


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Posted by Stoneridge Resident
a resident of Stoneridge
on Oct 25, 2012 at 9:47 am

Is the measure really about the death penalty repeal or about shifting the money. When reading more carefully, it seems they are using the death penalty as a screen to get more money to a different pocket. Be informed, read very carefully before voting emotionally!


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Posted by new resident
a resident of Stoneridge
on Oct 25, 2012 at 9:50 am

Is this measure about the death penalty or about shifting money into a different pocket. After reading the measure, it seems the death penalty is a screen for money being used and moved to a different area. Be informed, read carefully before voting emotionally.


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Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2012 at 10:11 am

@PTown Native:
Semper Fi


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Posted by Ptown native
a resident of Stoneridge
on Oct 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Citzen:
Semper Peratus


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