Death Penalty Reform Proponents Switch Focus To 2016
(Sacramento, CA)-Californians for Death Penalty Reform and Savings, a coalition of law enforcement, prosecutors and crime victims announced today that they will not seek to qualify the proposed death penalty reform initiative for the November 2014 ballot, and instead plan to qualify the initiative for the November 2016 ballot.
The initiatives proponent Kermit Alexander, whose mother, sister and two young nephews were murdered in 1984 by a gang member who is still serving on death row, issued the following statement:
“Our polling indicates that Californians from all walks of life overwhelmingly support an initiative that will end the unnecessary delay in executions for the state’s worst murderers. Over the next two years we will reach out to voters to educate them on our initiative and how these common sense changes will fix a broken system bringing justice to victims and accountability where none exists today. We will take this time to broaden our coalition, raise the funds and gather the necessary signatures well in advance of the 2016 election.”
The initiative makes several major changes in California’s death penalty process, ranging from the appointment of attorneys for appeals to the method of execution. The objective is to remove at least a decade of unnecessary delay from the time between the trial, sentencing and a murderer’s execution. It currently takes over 20 years and in some cases far longer to carry out the execution of a murderer whose guilt is not in dispute.
“Other states carry out executions five to ten years after conviction, without sacrificing anyone’s constitutional rights. There is no good reason for Californians to put up with the decades and millions in tax dollars wasted by our state in order to deliver justice for the very worst criminals,” said Alexander. “We have the blueprint to fix this and we are going to implement that blueprint in 2016.”
Governors George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson and Gray Davis, Kick-Off Signature Gathering Drive
Los Angeles – Californians for Death Penalty Reform and Savings were joined by Governors George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson and Gray Davis, and former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley to announce the launch of signature gathering for a statewide ballot initiative to fix the death penalty in California.
Voters support reform of California’s death penalty. It has become ineffective because of waste, delays, and inefficiencies. Fixing it will save California taxpayers millions of dollars every year, assure due process protections for those sentenced to death and promote justice for murder victims and their families. Death row inmates have murdered over 1000 victims, including 229 children and 43 police officers; 235 victims were raped and 90 victims were tortured. It’s time California reformed our death penalty process so it works.
This initiative will ensure justice for both victims and defendants by:
- 1. Reforming the Appeals Process
- 2. Reforming Death Row Housing and Victim Restitution
- 3. Reforming the Appointment of Appellate Counsel and Agency Oversight
More information on the initiative can be found at www.deathpenaltyreform.com
“In 2012, Californians overwhelmingly reaffirmed their support for the death penalty. Unfortunately, it has become ineffective because of waste, delays, and inefficiencies. Fixing it will save California taxpayers millions of dollars every year, assure due process protections for those sentenced to death and promote justice for murder victims and their families.”
“The voters of California have continuously confirmed their support for keeping the death penalty as an option for the most heinous of crimes. This measure will require death row inmates, for the first time, to work and provide restitution to victims of their crimes or risk losing privileges, like any other violent offender. This reform will significantly reduce the current 20 year review process by requiring that the appeal be heard first by the California Court of Appeals. This initiative will bring common sense reform to a broken system.”
Governor Gray Davis
37th Governor of California
“In 2012 death penalty opponents of the death penalty argued it should be ended to save taxpayers the enormous cost of its endless prolonged delays. California voters saw through and strongly rejected the cynical hypocrisy of the criminal defense lawyers whose obstructive tactics in fact create such delay. But this initiative truly will bring common sense reforms to a broken system.
”Moving the first round of appeals to the State Court of Appeals will assure timely review of convictions rather than the unconscionable 7-1/2 year delay the current system causes. This reform will rid the appellate process of completely needless delays while keeping judicial safeguards in place.”
Governor Pete Wilson
36th Governor of California
“We all agree that California’s the current death penalty process is not working. This initiative will implement common sense reforms to enforce the sentence that California voters, at the last election, told us they wanted to keep for the state’s worst murderers. It will also provide long-overdue justice for the families of hundreds of murder victims.”
Governor George Deukmejian
35th Governor of California
“Many good men and women who helped to solve my daughter Polly’s case have quietly passed since her murderer was sentenced to death row seventeen-years ago. Should the glacial appeals process for Polly’s killer be exhausted there is a small, but determined group of individuals who will continue to lobby on his behalf. They decry the death penalty. They have successfully denied the law and subverted the will of the people of California for far too long. We need to exert our will and demand that justice be served. It has become apparent that this will never be accomplished through the California state legislature. Join me in supporting the Death Penalty Reform & Savings Coalition.”
Victims’ Rights Advocate
OPINION: Fix California’s death penalty process
BY MIKE RAMOS Published: January 03, 2014; 07:51 PM
Instead of trying to fix the problem, opponents want to throw the baby out with the bath water and abolish it altogether. The death penalty system in California is not beyond fixing. There are common sense reforms that would improve the system while still giving the accused their constitutionally guaranteed right to a fair trial. However, the Legislature has refused to even consider these reforms.
Justice for victims, not luxuries for Death Row inmates
Published 4:54 pm, Tuesday, December 17, 2013
San Francisco Chronicle
California’s death penalty system needs to change. Tiequon Cox, who has lived on Death Row for more than 27 years, has exhausted all of his federal and state appeals. On Dec. 1, he celebrated another birthday. Why do I care about Cox? Because on Aug. 31, 1984, Cox murdered my mother, sister and two nephews during an early morning home invasion. Cox, a for-hire killer, went to the wrong address and mistakenly killed my family – four acts of murder committed on an innocent family in exchange for $3,500.
In the past 29 years, I have missed my mother every day. Yet my family’s murderer continues to live, even though the jury found him guilty and then unanimously recommended the death penalty.
However, California’s death penalty has become ineffective because of waste, delays and inefficiencies. Just last year, voters upheld the state’s death penalty by defeating Proposition 34. A coalition of district attorneys, law enforcement and victim’s rights advocates like me are proposing a statewide ballot initiative to change the death penalty system in California. The initiative would revamp the appeals process, Death Row housing and victim restitution as well as the appointment of appellate counsel and agency oversight.
Initiative Filed with Attorney General
Contact: Californians for Death Penalty Reform and Savings
California Death Penalty Reform Initiative Filed with Attorney General
Initiative will bring efficiencies and cost savings to California’s broken death penalty system
Sacramento, CA -A coalition of District Attorneys, law enforcement officials, and victims’ rights advocates are proposing a statewide ballot initiative to reform the death penalty in California.
“Last year Californians overwhelmingly reaffirmed their support for the death penalty. Unfortunately, it has become ineffective because of waste, delays, and inefficiencies. Fixing it will save California taxpayers millions of dollars every year, assure due process protections for those sentenced to death and promote justice for murder victims and their families,” said initiative proponent Kermit Alexander, whose mother, sister, and two nephews were murdered in 1984 by a gang member in Los Angeles. The killer has been on death row since 1986.
This initiative will ensure justice for both victims and defendants by:
Reforming the Appeals Process
- Death penalty appeals will first be heard by the California Court of Appeals and then heard by the California Supreme Court if necessary.
- A defendant’s claim of actual innocence should not be limited, but frivolous and unnecessary claims should be restricted.
Reforming Death Row Housing and Victim Restitution
- According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, eliminating single cell housing of death row inmates will save tens of millions of dollars every year.
- Death row inmates should be required to work in prison to pay restitution to their victims’ families consistent with the Victims’ Bill of Rights (Marsy’s law). Refusal to work and pay restitution should result in loss of special privileges.
Reforming the Appointment of Appellate Counsel and Agency Oversight
- Reforming the existing inefficient appeals process for death penalty cases will ensure fairness for both defendants and victims. Capital defendants wait 5 years or more for appointments of their appellate lawyer. By providing prompt appointment of attorneys, the defendant’s claims will be heard sooner.
- The state agency that is supposed to expedite secondary review of death penalty cases is operating without any effective oversight, causing long delays and wasting taxpayer dollars. California Supreme Court oversight of this state agency will ensure accountability.
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Coalition wants to change death penalty rules
By Teri Figueroa 9:16 p.m. Dec. 5, 2013 Dec. 6, 2013
A coalition of local law enforcement members met Thursday to discuss backing changes to California’s death penalty process, from streamlining appeals to finding an acceptable execution method.
“The death penalty, I believe, is broken in California. I also believe it can certainly be fixed,” Matt Clay, president of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association of San Diego County, told reporters.
Initiative supporters want to bring California death penalty back to life
Dailey Breeze News June 7, 2013
By Neil Nisperos
Frustrated by a recent appeals court ruling that invalidates the state’s lethal injection procedures, supporters of the death penalty in California plan to launch a campaign to bring the suspended system back to life.
Death penalty supporters hope to circumvent legal challenges to executions through a new initiative that would put in place a single-drug injection procedure for inmates condemned to death, such as the infamous Night Stalker serial killer Richard Ramirez, who died Friday of natural causes.
Our View: Reform the death penalty
Pasadena Star-News, 11/16/12
DESPITE its serious flaws, Californians made it clear on Nov. 6 that they want to keep the death penalty.
A majority of Californians voted down Proposition 34, which would have replaced the sentence with life in prison without the possibility of parole, leaving the expensive and dysfunctional process of state-sponsored executions in place.
We supported the initiative as a cost-effective and humane alternative to our messy and inefficient death penalty, but recognize the will of the voters. Now, the state must do a better job of it.