Skip to main content

Originally posted at Fair and Unbalanced

"We cannot assume that capital punishment is not so cruel as to offend contemporary standards of decency . . .  It degrades and dehumanizes all who participate in its processes. It is unnecessary to any legitimate goal of the state and is incompatible with the dignity of man and the judicial process."  -- People v. Anderson
Forty years ago, as my indefatigable colleague, Bob Bacon, has reminded me, the California Supreme Court struck down the death penalty.  On February 18, 1972, in People v. Anderson, the Court (by a 6‑1 vote) concluded that the death penalty was both cruel and unusual and violated the state constitution's  "cruel OR unusual" clause.   (Contrary to myth, Anderson was decided five years before Jerry Brown appointed Rose Bird to the Court.  The majority opinion was written by Chief Justice Donald Wright, who had been appointed by Governor Ronald Reagan.)

There were over 100 people on California's death row at the time of the Anderson decision, all of whom had their sentences commuted to life.  (There was no "life without parole" back then.)  A few months later the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Furman v. Georgia, which found all death penalty statutes then extant in the United States to be invalid under the federal constitution.  (A California case, Aikens v. California, was originally going to be decided along with Furman, but became moot when the California Supreme Court decided Anderson on state constitutional grounds.)

California's death penalty was quickly reinstated.  Attempting to comply with Furman, the new statute made the death penalty mandatory for certain first degree murders and other crimes.  But in 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down death penalty laws that provided for mandatory death sentences. The California Supreme Court, relying on the high court's ruling, once again found the state's statute to be unconstitutional.

Undeterred, the California legislature passed a new death penalty law in 1977.  This was followed in 1978 by a ballot proposition, known as the Briggs Amendment, which was similar but more expansive version that sought to encompass more -- virtually all -- categories of murder (including unintentional murders committed during certain felonies).  Briggs passed and it is the law we are living with, so to speak, today.  

Forty years after Anderson: $4 billion dollars, over a thousand death sentences, over 720 currently on death row, and 13 executions, none since January 2006.
Tani Cantil-Sakauye, after one year as the Chief Justice of the State of California, has concluded that the state's capital punishment system is "not effective" and requires "structural changes" that the State cannot afford.  Her predecessor, Ron George, who was Chief Justice for 15 years, came to the same conclusion, describing California's death penalty scheme as "dysfunctional."

An extensive study by Arthur Alarcon, long-time judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, who, together with law professor Paula Mitchell, determined that California's death penalty system is currently costing the state about $184 million per year.  They concluded that "since reinstating the death penalty in 1978, California taxpayers have spent roughly $4 billion to fund a dysfunctional death penalty system that has carried out no more than 13 executions."

Don Heller, who drafted the Briggs Amendment, wrote in the Los Angeles Daily News:  “I never contemplated the staggering cost of implementing the death penalty: more than $4 billion to date and approximately $185 million projected per year in ongoing costs.”  Heller now believes that “the cost of capital punishment takes away funds that could be used to enhance public safety.”

And most recently, Ron Briggs, who together with his father Senator John Briggs, created the initiative that bears his name, wrote an op-ed in Los Angeles Times concluding that "the Briggs death penalty law in California simply does not work."

As Ron Briggs, now a county supervisor in El Dorado County, put it, "there are few 'do-overs' in life."  But 34 years after Briggs (and 40 years after Anderson first struck down California's death penalty), "the Briggs family has decided to endorse the SAFE California campaign, a fall 2012 ballot initiative that would replace the death penalty with a punishment of life without the possibility of parole."

If it passes, the SAFE California Act would replace California's multi‑billion dollar death penalty with life imprisonment without parole and require those convicted of murder to work and pay restitution to victim families through the victim compensation fund.  It would also set aside $100 million in budget saving for local law enforcement for the investigation of unsolved rape and murder cases.

As Supervisor Briggs says, California has another chance at "real justice" and "we should embrace it."

Please join the effort to replace the death penalty by clicking here:  SAFE California.

Originally posted to Lovechilde on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 09:28 AM PST.

Also republished by Abolish the Death Penalty, California politics, and Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Most Americans oppose the death penalty. (17+ / 0-)

    California physicians decided a few years ago that they, as a group, would not participate in carrying out the death penalty because it went against their Hippocratic oath. I supported them then and I support them now.

    The sooner this barbaric practice is stopped again across the country the better. Thank you, Lovechilde, for posting.

    We can't support state-sponsored murder of our citizens.


    We imprison more citizens per capita than other countries, and we are among the tiny number of developed nations that continues to execute its citizens.

    •  I agree. nt (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom, kestrel9000, mungley, Cedwyn, kaliope
    •  Um (5+ / 0-)

      Most Americans support the death penalty.  It regularly polls at over 60% support.

      •  Sadly, I believe this is true. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        someone please prove me wrong.

        “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

        by Terranova0 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 10:29:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Right you are on the national numbers. I was too (9+ / 0-)

        influenced by the NE regional bias against the death penalty.

        It seems that the majority of white Americans and a slight majority of Latino Americans still support the death penalty, while only 40% of African Americans give it support.

        This may reflect that while 13.6% of our population is African American, African Americans comprise 34% of those executed on our death rows.

      •  I wish I could refute it (8+ / 0-)

        But Anthony de Jesus is correct.

        See here.

        I think when people are asked, "Do you support the death penalty," the question is too simplistic.  The death penalty is a complex issue.  When you ask someone that question, I imagine they are thinking that everyone executed is going to be like Richard Allen Davis.  I am against the death penalty and even I think this piece of shit should die.  

        The problem is that the law usually doesn't work that way.  Often people are sentenced to death based on the testimony of an accomplice.  Is it rational that the first person to turn against the other gets to live although each is just as culpable?

        What about Troy Davis who was executed although there was no physical evidence linking him to the crime?  

        People think that the judicial system is infallible despite the growing listof people who are exonerated.

        People believe in the death penalty in theory, but when you present people with alternatives or specific circumstances, that 61% support tends to shrink.

        "Religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together" - James Madison

        by SierraDrinker on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 10:51:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Some polling data (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, Cedwyn, Dave925, Ms Citizen

          See here.

          Looking deeper into the numbers, a plurality of Americans feel the death penalty is no imposed often enough, as opposed to just right or too often.  A majority say that the death penalty is applied fairly, but in lower numbers than overall approval of the death penalty, so some people believe it is unfair but still support it.  Clearly, some people believe in the death penalty despite believing that an innocent person has been executed some time in the past five years.  And people don't think that it is a deterrent to murder.  Americans seem to be split pretty evenly over whether death or life without parole is preferable.

          So, I think that the mainstream American opinion is that the death penalty should be enforced more often, even though mistakes are sometimes made.

          •  And yet... (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus, mungley, Cedwyn, WI Deadhead, Dave925
            Americans seem to be split pretty evenly over whether death or life without parole is preferable.
            Again, I think when presented with specific examples or alternatives, that support drops.  I believe people say it's not applied enough because of the length of time it takes for the appeal process to wind its way through the courts.  That whole due process thingy in the Bill of Rights can be annoying sometimes.  

            In general, I'd say most people are pretty ignorant of the law.  For example, back in my college days I took a course in Psychology & Law.  The prof asks us to read one of those random man on the street surveys.  The question was, "Have you ever been robbed?"  The people responded with thing like, I was mugged or I had my car broken into, and someone stole my tv out of my house.  All ten people said they had been robbed.  He asked us (psychology majors or legal studies major in their 3rd or 4th year of university), how many people have been robbed.  Most of us said all of them.  In fact, only two had been robbed.  The others were burglary vicitms.  What's the difference?  He said, "smugly, about 5 to 10 years."  University legal studies students didn't know the difference between robbery and burglary.

            One last example he gave.  You drive your buddy to a 7-11 because he said he wants to buy some cigarettes.  On the way, he says he's going to rob the store.  He goes in, pulls out a guy, shoots and kills the clerk.  Prof asks, "what are you guilty of?"  Most people answer, accessory to murder.  Nope, guilty of capital murder and you can put executed for it in the state of California.  Homicide in the commission of another felony is a capital offense.  

            My point is that most people are ignorant of the law, they don't understand the law, they don't know how the legal process works.  We shouldn't be basing life and death decisions on simplistic polls.

            "Religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together" - James Madison

            by SierraDrinker on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 11:29:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think the term (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            codairem, Ms Citizen, SierraDrinker

            "mainstream opinion" is very helpful here. It obscures more than it illuminates.  It is certainly not true that most people oppose the death penalty, yet it's also true that when faced with an alternative, most people don't support it either. Personally I find the latter question, where people split pretty evenly, to be the better one.  (That even split is national, so it stands to reason the numbers look way better in blue states when they are asked this question - although if anyone has a link I'd love to see it.) People are ambivalent about the death penalty.  And since anti-death penalty arguments can't get a hearing in either party, that means that support is soft.  If people were exposed to the arguments against it, the numbers would drop even more.  

            Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. @DavidKaib

            by David Kaib on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 04:10:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  right to life movement (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mungley, john07801, Sue B

        Seems to me that the right to life movement ought to get squarely behind all efforts to end capital punishment.

        Rick Santorum, are you listening?

    •  I fully agree that the US incarceration rate (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DamselleFly, 4Freedom

      is too high, but this graph does not tell the whole story; in a country like Brazil (where I grew up) "criminals" are shot dead by the police right and left, generally with impunity.  So the fact that it has fewer prisoners per capita is not terribly relevant.

      I agree that the contrast with Canada, Australia and Western Europe is stark, and does not place the US in a good light.

      Silvio Levy

    •  There's money in them thar prisons (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DamselleFly, 4Freedom

      And in continuing the war on pot.

      We get what we want - or what we fail to refuse. - Muhammad Yunus

      by nightsweat on Wed Feb 22, 2012 at 05:42:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  look at the company you keep, too (0+ / 0-)

      did you want to be in a club for countries who execute, with Belarus?  Turkmenistan......

      all very Old Testamently Christian of you?

  •  I was so pleased to read this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, maf1029

    I suspect, despite his supposed religious conviction, Rick Santorum will not be taking the Catholic bishops' position against the death penalty.

    "There once was a union maid..." Political compass: -9.75 / -8.72

    by mijita on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 03:00:08 PM PST

  •  Progressives really support this? (0+ / 0-)
    If it passes, the SAFE California Act would replace California's multi‑billion dollar death penalty with life imprisonment without parole and require those convicted of murder to work and pay restitution to victim families through the victim compensation fund.
    I mean, I'd support it, but I want some proof that the majority of progressives who oppose capital punishment are OK putting people in jail for the rest of their lives and making them work (otherwise known as forced labor).  Because even in this comment thread, someone is bemoaning our high incarceration rate!  

    But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

    by Rich in PA on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 03:50:39 PM PST

    •  So what? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      codairem, Ms Citizen

      Our high incarceration rate is not driven by murders, but drugs, and since drug crimes often have mandatory sentences, this means that those convicted of violent crimes can be pushed out by those convicted of drug crimes (or parole violations or other such things).  Personally, I find that a stupid policy.

      I find it odd for someone to suggest that they would support a policy if only they had evidence of the motives of other people that support a policy (especially since you cannot ever have proof of motives).

      Either way, regardless of what we do after a murder, we need to acknowledge that we're failing. This policy is designed to do a number of things to prevent murders. The death penalty does not.

      Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. @DavidKaib

      by David Kaib on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 04:04:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's why I want to know motives (0+ / 0-)

        Because I fear that some people who are suggesting life without parole are doing a bait-and-switch.  As soon as the death penalty is eliminated in favor of life-without-parole, they will argue that life-without-parole is inhumane.  Since the only way I'll support the elimination of the death penalty is if I have some reasonable assurance about life-without-parole, well, that's the basis for my inquiry.  

        But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

        by Rich in PA on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 05:23:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Since conservatives will support (0+ / 0-)

          all manner of punitive policies, you should rest easy. Even if all the progressives who support this policy pulled a bait and switch (and imagining there is some way this could be organized, which there isn't) it still wouldn't lead to the outcome you are concerned about.

          As to your point about what we'll argue for next -the odds are it will be solitary confinement, which is torture.  The best way to know this is to look at the other things significant numbers of progressives advocate - end to solitary confinement, end to the Drug War, ending private prisons. There is a litany of criminal policies progressives advocate - and next to no talk of ending LWOP.  

          Still, as I pointed out above, this policy will lead to fewer murders regardless of how we deal with those that do happen.  That seems worthy of more attention.  

          Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. @DavidKaib

          by David Kaib on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 06:54:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  In IL (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That was the general opinion of the population when we outlawed executions. We were a special case, I think, because we had 13 people removed from death row due to the technicality that they had been proven innocent of the crime with which they were charged.

      I certainly can get behind life without parole for people that are just not safe to be out in public. And I see nothing wrong with making them pay restitution for their crimes. That seems fair, they can't bring back the dead.

      But I think I'm skeptical/ambiguous toward mandatory sentences. Skeptical because I can see differences between a methodically planned murder, a murder of opportunity (a stalker sees his victim and acts), and a knifing in a bar fight. The first 2 are far worse in my book and indicate that the person is not safe for society. The latter may well be rehabilitated. Ambiguous toward mandatory sentences because I've seen the differences in sentences in southern IL and in northern IL. You wind up with an odd case where the same crime can be punished quite differently due to an accident of geography.

      •  I'm with you on that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ms Citizen

        We could split hairs about the stalker (after all, in that case you've premeditated the act, just not the particular victim), but people who knife someone in a bar don't get the death penalty, so they wouldn't get life without parole.  

        I don't think there's a generalized problem with the sentences that killers (murder, manslaughter) get short of the worst-of-the-worst, and we seem to have some broad agreement in society about what makes worst-of-the-worst.  We're only arguing (not you and me, I mean more broadly) about what to do with those worst-of-the-worst, and I'm happy to ratchet it down from the death penalty but I want that same kind of finality in terms of removing them from society.  Not just until they've reformed or until they're no longer a danger, but until they're dead because anything else mocks the victims.

        But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

        by Rich in PA on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 05:29:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not just mocks the victims, though that's bad too (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ms Citizen

          But also endangers society. Sociopaths can do quite well in prison and be model prisoners, but it's only for the purpose of fooling the system into releasing them.

          There was a case in my home town (Thomas Fuller, Mattoon, IL)where a young man killed 5 kids from a family. He was sentenced to 99 years and he comes up for parole every now and then. The survivors from the family are forced to relive the whole thing every time he comes up for parole. They circulate petitions to give to the parole board.

          IMO that shouldn't be necessary. He should have been put away for the rest of his life without ever even being offered an opportunity for parole. And the family of the victims shouldn't have to act as advocates.

  •  I Used To Favor The Death Penalty (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    codairem, SoCalLiberal

    Actually, I am really big on punishing all crime severely.  I felt that the Chinese legalist scholars from 2500 years ago were right on this one.

    But, the problem is our system of justice is a travesty and broken. Prosecutors bring cases they should be disbarred for, and get convictions. The criminal justice system is about incarceration and not about justice at all anymore.  Police misconduct is covered for by the DA's office, and prosecutorial misconduct is covered for by both the judges (who are former DAs mostly) and in some cases by the State Bar.

    So, how can I favor capital punishment where the accused has virtually no chance of getting a fair trial?

    Which reminds me, wasn't John Briggs from OC, like Dan Lungren (who is the Congressman from CA-3?).

  •  You know what's funny? (0+ / 0-)

    I wore my Che Guevara style Rose Bird t-shirt today.  I know she didn't write the opinion in Anderson (she wasn't on the Court then) but she did more to slow down the death penalty in Californa than anyone else.  

    Now, I happen to support the death penalty.  Well maybe not support, I don't oppose it.  I think there are some cases where it is appropriate and can be constitutionally applied, I just think those occassions are exceedingly rare.  The way it is applied in certain states, like Texas, is atrocious.  But I don't think it's unconstitutional in every single case.  

    I'm not the only Liberal who believes that (even if I am in the minority).  Even in Andersen, William O. Douglas did not agree that the death penalty was unconstitutional in all instances.  

    Check out my new blog:

    by SoCalLiberal on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:41:39 PM PST

  •  And I should add too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sue B

    I'm grateful for the Bird Court for slowing down the rate of executions in California because it prevented us from turning into Texas, where the death penalty is handed down with reckless abandon.  

    Check out my new blog:

    by SoCalLiberal on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 07:44:04 PM PST

  •  And I am sure the pro-lifers... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    auron renouille

    ... Will be front and center in their support for this because it preserves life. Cover your ears in preparation for the deafening roar of support from the catholic church as they rally round to defend the sanctity of life. Be prepared for the papal bulls mandating Catholics to support this, and Rick Santorum giving speeches on how wonderful this move is and how it compliments his defense of the fertilized egg.

    (do I hear crickets...)

  •  There is a need for the death penalty. (0+ / 0-)

    And California should recognize that need better then arguably any other state in the nation.

    Specifically, when there is 1) no hope of re-education (ie life without parole) and 2) incarceration does not prevent the criminal activities of a criminal while they are incarcerated.

    The most obvious example being the shot callers for the most ruthless national and international gangs in this country, held in supermaxs as well as state and federal prisons.

    •  And forced amputation would prevent shoplifting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sue B

      The point is that capital punishment is inherently barbaric, degrading, and dehumanizing. It disgraces the United States and every other jurisdiction in which it is practiced. Whether or not it serves somebody's interest, it's a moral abomination on a par with slavery and human sacrifice.

      There is little that can be said to someone who doesn't share that sense of revulsion. It's like talking to a medieval European who sees nothing wrong with punitive disemboweling, or an antebellum southerner who sees nothing wrong with slavery. Anyone who offers a pragmatic, results-based defense of capital punishment has missed the point entirely. It's like defending slavery on the basis of its benefit to the economy.

      No humane, modern, thinking person supports capital punishment. It's a line in the sand. If you support the death penalty, ever, in principle or in practice, you're a part of the problem. Rather than aid the civilizing, humanizing mission of progressivism, you've imbibed the reactionary culture of violence and made yourself a stooge of the fear-based neanderthal right. Moreover, you're complicit in the disgrace of your country on the international stage. You're helping to keep the United States isolated and alienated from the rest of the civilized, democratic world.

      This is why we need to emphasize the inherent wrongness of state-sponsored murder, rather than quibbling about its cost and "effectiveness". As long as we engage with these crass, idiotic arguments, we imply that supporters of the death penalty can still be sensible and decent. We need to make it clear that their failure to be disgusted by the death penalty is a moral failure, not a respectable difference of opinion.

      •  It isn't progressive to demonize your opponents.. (0+ / 0-)

        Arguing with ideologues is generally a pointless venture, as those who love to give advice generally refuse to take any ...  but I will take the bait.

        In general, when someone completely ignores a simple, fact-based argument and attempts to move the discussion to a broader one of morals, where they engage in only demonizing their opponent, it is generally because they don't have a proverbial leg to stand on.

        Do those that die on the orders of these criminals not have the same right to life?  Are you perfectly OK with the continuation of this, so that you can live in your ideological utopia and feel good about yourself?  If you can't fix or refuse to even acknowledge the problems inherent to or brought about by your cause, then why should anyone consider your opinion?

        All you had to do was address the concern: that there are people from in prison who kill civilians, without any repercussions.  You couldn't, so instead you decided to dehumanize everyone who has this concern as medieval, pro-slavery, inhumane barbarians that are apparently part of the problem (one begins to question the difference in your approach to that of some on the right and their crusade to Nazi-ize everyone ...).

        Since you brought up slavery, I ask you, is freedom worth a person's life?  About 2,213,363 Union soldiers thought so, and they killed ~ 260,000 Confederate soldiers because they believed as much.  The same can be said for the 16.1 million Americans who served in WWII.  So there are things worth killing for ... unless, by your logic (and debate tactics) those whom agree with you are akin to pro-slavery, genocide lovers.

        Personally, I think that there are two things in this world that are worth killing for: life and liberty.  If these can be prevented by incarceration, then fine.  If they cannot be, then killing is justifiable.  As a punishment (whether 'capital' or otherwise) killing is not nor should it be acceptable.  As a way of saving lives and promoting freedom, it is tried and true and (sadly) very necessary.

        "It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence."

        •  Do you know of anyone (0+ / 0-)

          who has received the death penalty in the circumstances you mentioned? I can't say that there are no such cases, but I can say that most cases are nothing like that.  

          It also seems likely that if such a case existed, the ruthless crime boss would have friends or family capable of exacting revenge without getting orders.

          As to any punishment - to you really mean that? Would that include torture? How about torturing the family members of a murderer? Is it ok to dispense with the Constitution?

          Personally, I think any discussion of crime is a moral one. Facts alone cannot settle a dispute.

          Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. @DavidKaib

          by David Kaib on Thu Feb 23, 2012 at 03:18:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

            ... most gang related hits/murders must be OK'd through the gang hierarchy prior to being executed.  And most of the top of that hierarchy is in prison (ironically, it is safer there for them).  Cases have been brought against the leaders of the Aryan Brotherhood, the Mexican Mafia, MS13, Nuestra Familia, and the Latin Kings (to name a few) for doing just that.

            As to punishment, killing someone as a 'punishment' doesn't work, because they are dead, and therefore they don't learn anything from it.  The idea that it discourages others from engaging in the same practices is an open debate, but that is not why I advocate killing repeat offenders.

            Killing someone who has murdered and plans on continually being involved in murder is not punishment.  It is simply the act of preventing innocent people from dieing.  As I said before, generally this can be accomplished simply by incarceration, however, there are instances where jailing a murderer does not prevent them from still engaging in the killing of others.  At that point there is a choice: either allow them to live and continue killing others, or end their life, and save all those that would have otherwise died by their hands.

            •  Neither incarceration or death (0+ / 0-)

              prevents murder. Stopping one person from committing crimes doesn't stop crime. In fact, there is little evidence it reduces it. There are policies that do reduce murder.  That is the point of this proposed change.

              Regardless, this argument had little bearing on the vast majority of death penalty cases.

              Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. @DavidKaib

              by David Kaib on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 07:29:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  That's not insurmountable (0+ / 0-)

      There are ways of keeping crooks from running criminal enterprises from prison. Putting them in protective custody and limiting their visitors and phone calls can do it.

      Besides, if CA has only executed 13 people and it has over 720 people on death row, then it already has this issue. If death row keeps criminals from running their enterprises, then using the same protocols for life without parole cases would have the same effect.

      •  It has been so far (0+ / 0-)

        These guys are in Federal prison, mostly superMax prisons, in solitary 23 hours a day, and they still order the deaths of rivals, jurors, and innocents be they family members of judges or law enforcement personnel.

        It has all been well-documented over the last 10-20 years.  In one court case, they dragged these guys out of their cells, from their convictions of life imprisonment, found them guilty of orchestrating the deaths of countless civilians, and then proceeded to put them back into their cells for life.

        And since that time, nothing has changed.  These ways of preventing this from happening you mention ... they haven't worked.

  •  There were two "Briggs Initiatives" in 1978 (0+ / 0-)

    The one which passed (the death penalty one) was Proposition 7. The one which was defeated was a viciously anti-gay measure called Proposition 6. IIRC a lot of people thought that the energy that went into defeating 6 came at the expense of defeating 7 and also at the expense of defeating Prop 13, which also passed (and is still causing problems).

    Ask the homophobes against marriage equality this: "Would you rather see two gay men marry each other or one closet case marry your daughter?"

    by spacecadet1 on Wed Feb 22, 2012 at 09:58:07 AM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site