California Ex-Governors Want Death Row Inmates Executions Expedited

California Ex-Governors Want Death Row Inmates Executions Expedited

Authorities in California have not executed a death row inmate since 2006, even though the Golden State’s penitentiaries house more than 700 prisoners who have been sentenced to death for their heinous crimes. Thanks to both a shortage of the drugs used for lethal injections and a backlogged court system, some of these inmates have had the dates of their executions delayed for decades, all the while getting their three squares a day on the taxpayers’ dime. Three former California governors, Pete Wilson (R), George Deukmejian (R) and Gray Davis (D) want to put the “function” back in the state’s dysfunctional death penalty process and get the executions expedited.

Wilson, Deukmejian and Davis announced their support for a ballot initiative that would not only schedule the executions of death row inmates sooner, but also save state correctional facilities tens of millions of dollars annually. The three are in favor of an initiative put forth by the group, Californians for Death Penalty Reform and Savings, who state that California’s death row includes inmates who are serial killers, instruments of mass murder, criminals responsible for the deaths of children and the deaths of those who were victims of hate crimes. The group also states, “The death penalty system is broken, but it can and should be fixed.”

The initiative would reform California’s death penalty process and, according to the authors, ensure justice for the victims, their families and even the defendants who often have to wait years just to get their appeals heard by the California Supreme Court. If approved, it would reform the appeals process, which would be expedited by the sharing of the death penalty caseload with state appellate courts before consideration by the California Supreme Court.

The initiative would limit the amount of time given to state courts to review death penalty cases which can currently drag on for more than five years. Further, death row inmates would no longer have the luxury of single cell incarceration, (or conversely, the loneliness of isolation) which is cost prohibitive, but would be required to room with other inmates. They would also have a work requirement so that they could put their time behind bars to good use in the form of restitution to the victim’s families as outlined in the current Victims’ Bill of Rights.

It is interesting to note that the initiative would also exempt prison officials from the existing regulation process used to develop methods of execution. No details as of yet have been provided on what the alternative methods would be. This may in fact be a solution to the inability to execute prisoners due to a shortage of the chemical compounds used in the lethal injection process.

California total spent for death row inmates since 1978

According to the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C., a new study in California has shown that the cost of the death penalty has exceeded $4 billion since 1978. In a state that has long been fiscally running in the red, this is a significant expenditure. Included in that sum were pre-trial and trial costs, automatic appeals, habeas corpus petitions, and the costs of housing death row inmates.

The Californians for Death Penalty Reform and Savings group bluntly states the crimes of death row inmates in California including the murders of over 1,000 people. Of those people, 229 were children, 43 were police officers, 235 of the victims were raped and 90 of those victims were tortured. If Californians want the executions of these inmates expedited, supporters have until July 10, 2014, to get a minimum of 807,615 valid signatures in order for the initiative to be put to a vote in November.

In 2012, Proposition 34, a ballot measure that would have repealed the death penalty in California was put to the people for a vote. Fifty-two percent remained in favor of the death penalty and thus it remains legal in the state. If the death penalty process continues to be so hampered by a dysfunctional system then Californians might as well vote to repeal it. Leave out the moral questions and it becomes a matter of fiscal practicality. Since the death penalty is legal in the state, there is no sense in leaving inmates hanging in limbo. Let them go through a realistic appeals process and if it is determined they are to die, expedite their executions. As former Governor Pete Wilson said, “Old age should not be the leading cause of death on death row.”

Editorial By Alana Marie Burke


California Secretary of State Debra Bowen
Californians for Death Penalty Reform and Savings 
San Jose Mercury News
Death Penalty Information Center

3 Responses to "California Ex-Governors Want Death Row Inmates Executions Expedited"

  1. Angel   June 9, 2014 at 10:54 am

    All of this is UNGODLY & ANIMALISTIC! You want society to become remorseless for life. You don’t Kkkill to show Kkkilling is wrong! What makes society better than the person who gets caught for murder? Because some heartless judge says it’s ok to KILL that person! Who are we as a whole society to choose weather a person, a human being lives or dies?? We can’t give life so how do we feel we can take it. It’s bad enough some one & their loved ones have already suffered from the hands of another human ( the crime) but to make like it’s ok we do the SAME DAMM THING AS A SOCIETY
    (the PLOTTED 1st Degree MURDER) is sad, hopeless, and flat out disgusting, and a failure to our coming generations. Clearly this method of reformation is not working. Abolishment of the Death Penalty is the only way out society can evolve to a higher plane & mandate of the character of our society be raised to moral standards that appreciate life and respect life.
    What kind of man says with a straight face “old age is not the reason people should die on death row!” Let me tell you! A person w/ no morals or respect for life & or God! He’s decided he’s bigger than God! He’s Sad & a true coward! He’s willing to kill but expects no sentence. He thinks he’s ‘justified’ because he did it in the name of JUSTICE. And Jim Jones gave out the juice in the name of God. Which clearly means you can say it’s in the name of Justice, God, or whatever that does NOT make it true nor does it justify the barbaric & moral-less actions. Imagine standing in front of over 700 dead men and tell me how you think that’s what we should do, no you imagine pulling the trigger on them and KILLING THEM. That’s what we do as a society everyday we don’t abolish that inhumane sentence of the DEATH PENALTY! Killing is WRONG no matter who does it !

  2. lauri b   February 22, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Wesley Allen Dodd wanted it. Aileen Wuornos wanted it. Just to name two They got the sentence they wanted. One because he knew he would do it again and didn’t want to live. One because she didn’t want to be kept housed. They did their crime and did their time. All other 1st degree criminals are cowards, once caught and punished. A dog is put down if they attack a child, a person a human being. Well, those on death row are worse then a dog. Put them down now. They have had well too much time rewarded for their crimes. Maybe if the bleeding hearts had their child, sister, mother, brother, father, wife or husband brutally killed, tortured, raped, then they would have a different out look on the housing and feeding and entertaining ( life itself) that the monster gets to enjoy every day,

  3. James Leonard Park   February 16, 2014 at 9:55 am

    California will eventually join the other states and countries
    that have ended capital punishment.
    When that happens, the hundreds then on ‘death row’
    will rejoin the regular prison population.

    One middle way, which might please people
    at both ends of the spectrum concerning the death penalty,
    would be to replace capital punishment by automatic life-in-prison
    with the freely-chosen option of VOLUNTARY EXECUTION
    after at least one year behind bars.
    Each prisoner who wants to die could choose the best date of death.
    A dozen safeguards would prove that the choice is really voluntary.

    See what you think about this middle way:

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