san-quentin-1999.jpgProponents of a measure on the November ballot that would repeal the death penalty in California today said the state’s current system is far too costly to keep going.

Proposition 34 would replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, even for inmates who have already been sentenced to death.

Jeanne Woodford, the former warden of San Quentin State Prison, and Gil Garcetti, former district attorney of Los Angeles County, held a news conference in San Francisco this morning to discuss the measure and announce the launch of new statewide television and radio advertisements by the Yes on 34 campaign.

The ads highlight the costs of the death penalty system, estimated by the measure’s proponents to be $4 billion to California since 1978. During that period, only 13 murderers have been executed in the state.

“It’s a failed public policy that serves no one,” said Woodford, who oversaw four executions during her tenure at San Quentin.

Garcetti said inmates on death row “live a privileged life” that includes not having to work to pay restitution to victims’ families and having a court-appointed legal team to appeal their death sentences.

“It’s about accountability,” he said.

Opponents of Proposition 34 also spoke to reporters outside the site of today’s news conference and said the death penalty is only reserved for people convicted of heinous crimes.

“They’re the worst killers in California, the serial killers, the cop killers, the baby killers,” said Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, one of the co-chairs of the No on 34 campaign.

Schubert said the $4 billion cost cited by the measure’s proponents is “grossly inflated” and that going through with executions will save the state hundreds of millions of dollars that would otherwise be spent housing and caring for the inmates.

She also noted that the measure will take $100 million out of the state’s general fund to be issued as grants to local law enforcement agencies to help their investigation of homicide and rape cases.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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  • Soonerdiver

    The problem isn’t the inflated cost quoted by the “Yes” folks… if you convert all those sentenced to die to life then the cost will continue to grow. Housing, feeding, medical, etc…

    Once a person is convicted he/she should have one appeal to the state courts and one to the federal system; all in a timely manner.

    If both are rejected then the sentence of death should be carried out! As stated by those against the proposition, those on death row life an easy life and it seems to carry on year after year after year!

    Vote NO!

  • Soonerdiver

    The problem isn’t the inflated cost quoted by the “Yes” folks… if you convert all those sentenced to die to life then the cost will continue to grow. Housing, feeding, medical, etc…

    Once a person is convicted he/she should have one appeal to the state courts and one to the federal system; all in a timely manner.

    If both are rejected then the sentence of death should be carried out! As stated by those against the proposition, those on death row life an easy life and it seems to carry on year after year after year!

    Vote NO!

  • ChrisBernstien

    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 http://cadeathpenalty.webs.com/

  • ChrisBernstien

    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 http://cadeathpenalty.webs.com/

  • ChrisBernstien

    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.”

  • ChrisBernstien

    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.”