Death Penalty Duel: Voters to Decide between Props. 62, 66

Moments before Richard Allen Davis was sentenced to death in a San Jose courtroom for the kidnapping and murder of Polly Klaas, the young girl’s father addressed the court.

“He broke the contract; for that he must die,” Marc Klaas said on Aug. 5, 1996. “Mr. Davis, when you get to where you’re going, say hello to Hitler, say hello to Dahmer and say hello to Bundy. Good riddance, and the sooner you get there the better we all are.”

Davis entered the Klaas family’s life on Oct. 1, 1993, when he broke into Polly Klaas’ mother’s home in Petaluma and kidnapped the 12-year-old. The ensuing two-month search engrossed the nation, and ended when Davis led investigators to the young girl’s body. But for Marc Klaas, the torture was far from over, as the case evolved into an emotional three-year trial. At sentencing, Davis, who was also convicted of attempting lewd acts on Polly, delivered a final blow, alleging the young girl had begged him, “Just don’t do me like Dad.”

Klaas has looked forward to the killer’s execution as the lifting of a burden. But at sentencing he never imagined that 20 years later he’d still be awaiting that day. Since 1996, Davis—who sits on death row in San Quentin State Prison, a scant 10 miles from Klaas’ Sausalito home—has had just one appeal heard. His situation is not necessarily unique; the majority of the state’s 747 condemned have been on death row for between 16 and 24 years, with one awaiting execution for 38 years.

Klaas spends his days running the KlaasKids Foundation, one of several nonprofits started in Polly’s memory. But after receiving a call from the California District Attorneys Association, he’s turned his attention to endorsing Proposition 66, a proposal to reform the death penalty headed to the November ballot.

“It was never my intention to be an outspoken advocate of the death penalty,” Klass says, “but apparently it just sort of played out that way.”

Come election day, Prop. 66 will be up against another death penalty initiative, Prop. 62. Each initiative addresses California’s broken death penalty system, which leaves the condemned to languish for decades. But the two plans present diametrically opposed solutions.

Simply titled “California Death Penalty Repeal,” Prop. 62 would replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole. The legislation sprung from the seeds of 2012’s Prop. 34, which would have abolished the death penalty had it not lost by a narrow margin.

“What the polling shows is that there’s a big difference in the way voters react to the question ‘Do you want to end the death penalty, period?’ to ‘Do you think we should replace the death penalty with life without the possibility of parole?’” says Paula Mitchell, an author of Prop. 62 and professor at Loyola Law School.

She and others behind the campaign found voters are much more comfortable with the idea of substituting a life sentence rather than abolishing the death penalty altogether.

The legislation would also force death-row inmates to work in prison and pay restitutions to their victims’ families, a facet it shares with Prop. 66. District attorneys and elected officials have endorsed Prop. 62, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former President Jimmy Carter. It has also drawn an eclectic list of celebrity endorsers, including former CIA operative Valerie Plame, civil rights leader Dolores Huerta and entrepreneurs Richard Branson and Larry Flynt.

The death penalty repeal campaign is driven by a belief that the state’s system is fundamentally broken. Since 1978, when capital punishment was reinstated by voters after brief abolition, California has spent more than $5 billion to run the largest death row in the Western Hemisphere. In that time, 930 people have been sentenced to death but only 15 have actually been executed, according to the state Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO). No executions have been carried out in California in the last decade because of challenges to the state’s lethal injection protocol.

For Mitchell, one of the most compelling reasons to abolish the death penalty is the risk of executing an innocent person. Since 1973, she notes, 144 people on death row have been exonerated nationwide.

“A lot of people around the world are coming to the same conclusion,” she says. “It’s a risky thing, it costs a lot of money; it’s just not worth it.”

On the other hand, Prop. 66, known as the “Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016,” contends that the death penalty is not beyond repair, and that it is our duty to fix it.

“This arose out of a will to represent the obvious desires of the majority of the citizens of the state of California,” says Michele Hanisee, a key opponent of 2012’s Prop. 34. “They voted not to eliminate the death penalty, which means they want they death penalty and they want it to work. It’s unfair to those citizens that it’s not working.”

Prop. 66, which is backed by a long roster of district attorneys, sheriffs and law enforcement, including the San Jose Police Officers Association, attempts to reform capital punishment on several levels. Appeals to the state supreme court based on the trial record would need to be completed in five years. Furthermore, all appeals based on evidence or issues outside the record, known as habeas corpus appeals, would need to be presented in one case; currently the condemned can submit as many habeas appeals as they can muster. It would assign inmates counsel on the day of their sentencing, and would allow the state supreme court to force qualified attorneys to take capital appeals cases as a condition for being assigned to other cases in the future. Prop. 66 also allows the condemned to be housed in appropriate facilities other than San Quentin, the state’s death row for male inmates.

“When we talk about speeding up appeals some of it sounds sort of unfair,” Hanisee says. But, she adds, slowing down the process can be equally unjust to inmates. In the first capital verdict she oversaw as a Los Angeles deputy district attorney, the condemned man waited four years to be assigned an appellate lawyer, and another year for the lawyer to get up to speed on the case. Eight years later, his appeal has received 21 extensions, according to Hanisee, and no opening brief has been filed.

“If [he] were innocent or had a legitimate cause, it’s not getting heard,” she argues. She estimates Prop. 66 could halve the appeals process.

Both campaigns claim they will save taxpayers millions of dollars annually. Prop. 62’s website says abolishing the death penalty will save the state $150 million per year, a figure that squares with a May 2016 report from the LAO. Regarding Prop. 66 savings, the LAO said it would come from the way inmates are housed and “could potentially reach the tens of millions of dollars annually,” not hundreds of millions. Overall, the report concludes that Prop. 66’s long-term fiscal impact is unclear because it would likely reduce caseloads but require state courts to be staffed at higher levels.

Fiscal arguments may sway some voters, but the death penalty at its core is an emotional issue.The propositions require a simple majority to pass, and if both receive more than 50 percent of the vote, the one with the higher percentage will become law. Decisions on Props. 62 and 66 could come down to choosing between seeing “the worst of the worst” punished or the fear an innocent person may be killed.

Twenty years have passed, but the death penalty remains an emotional issue for Marc Klaas. Davis no longer dominates his thoughts the way he once did, but his extended stay on death row prevents the closure Klaas seeks.

“Oh, I’m gonna drink champagne the night that he’s executed,” Klaas says, the white of sailboats in Richardson Bay glinting through his kitchen window. “The mere fact that he still exists on this Earth influences my life and it influences my thoughts. So, eliminate him and you eliminate that burden.”

19 Comments

  1. The legislation would also force death-row inmates to work in prison and pay restitutions to their victims’ families…

    …or what, they get the death penalty?

    The folks who want to abolish the death penalty seem to have some sort of emotion-based feeling that we’ll all live forever. But that is not reality. In reality, we’re all under a death sentence.

    All the death penalty does is adjust the timing. What’s the big deal?

    • Okay let me put a bullet in your head tomorrow. I mean we all are going to die someday right what’s the big deal.

      • ELLA F,

        Logic isn’t your strong point, is it?

        See, no one elected you to do anything.

        Much as you’d like to kill people you disagree with…

  2. As has been made blatantly clear by California’s activist judiciary and capricious governance, as long as a condemned murderer is still drawing breath his sentence, no matter what it is, remains indeterminate; subject to the whims of a judge or the bending of a politician. New rights, new legal definitions (for even age-old terms), intervention in the name of racial proportionality, endless appeals, sentencing “reform,” progressive compassion: nothing is ever really settled when it comes to serving the criminal community. As for those of us in the law-abiding community, our rights – to suffer, bleed, and mourn, remain the domain of the criminal.

    Time and time again, the people of this state have had their say regarding the death penalty: it’s what they want. Time and time again, politicians of the arrogant variety (Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom – both powder puffs of privilege), or the equally arrogant judges they appoint, have told the democratic majority to go to hell. Their intentional interference, from every conceivable angle, has resulted in natural causes becoming the real scourge of death row.

    Right now, in the majority of cases forensic evidence can, with certainty, identify the rapist who kills his victim, the armed robber who murders the teenage store clerk, the maniac who kills for the thrill of it. Do you want them kept alive, waiting for the next reform movement, waiting for a chance at freedom? I sure as hell don’t.

    As for the much heralded successes of various innocence projects, the typical case reversed is one involving suspects, witnesses, and even victims so deeply rooted in the criminal culture and lacking in even the most basic of civilized values, that no testimony – before, during, or after, had any real credibility (especially the ever-popular, ten years after recanted testimony). These cases were mistakenly treated as if real humans were involved, and the lesson from them is that sometimes, no matter how heinous the crime, the death penalty is an unwise reach. Thankfully, advances in DNA matching now provide levels of certainty that preclude an over-reliance on witnesses; evidence not subject to coerced or compensated disavowal. The certainty of DNA, and the tremendous advances in using it to fasten perpetrators to crime scenes, may put the innocence racket out of business (where all those puppy-love, little girl law school grads will next misplace their compassion, I don’t know).

    Jerry Brown’s arrogance gave us Rose Bird, who flipped the bird to California law and the decisions of hundreds of sentencing juries. Gavin Newsom’s arrogance gave Kate Steinle’s killer sanctuary. Do we really want to follow the voting advice of these two jackasses?

    • Even though I still tear up at the end of “Ol’ Yeller”, I have no compassion for a convicted killer, pervert or high level drug dealer and have no problem with killing one, but there are some facts of which most death penalty advocates are often unaware and that prompt me to wonder if there might be a better way; or at least an adjustment to be made to the current process.

      The average death row inmate spends about 10-15 years in prison before being executed. A substantial number die of natural causes. While incarcerated, pending (a less than inevitable) execution, these inmates are, relative to other inmates, treated like kings. Death Row inmates at San Quentin State Prison have about the only private accommodations in the State’s grossly overcrowded prison system. Not having to share a cell reduces the potential “prison wife” complication and allows less anxiety while sleeping face down on their cots. The cells are slightly larger than others and Death Row inmates are allowed more personal property inside their cells and greater access to the prison library. They have exclusive control over the television, CD player and other diversions in their cells, so they don’t have to fight “Rocko” for the TV remote.

      They have better access to phones and limited internet access. Scott Peterson has his own blog site. He simply emails family members who post his comments, photos, drawings, etc., on a web site they have created for him. Unlike other inmates, Death Row inmates have private, “contact visits”, rather than communal visits in plexiglass booths. Death row prisoners are served breakfast and dinner in their cells but can still eat a sack lunch while mingling with other inmate-friends in the exercise yard.

      By contrast, an inmate who is sentenced to life without parole is generally treated much the same as other inmates. “Lifers” can be given slightly smaller than average cells that they would then have to share with a serial killer or other violent “lifer”. While this might make it a bit more difficult to sleep, it would also encourage good manners in the cell and likely reduce the number of rude inmates. After all, if an inmate is already in for life, why tolerate a rude cell mate since there is no real downside to killing him.

      If a “lifer” is required to mop floors, clean toilets and pick up trash in the yard everyday for the rest of his life, while sharing the same cell with “Bruno the Mouth Breather” and while enjoying the same “less than optimal” conditions as every other inmate, and knowing it will never end, I believe this might be an appropriate punishment and deterrent for some, rather than living in a 3-star “Death Row Hotel”, secure in the knowledge that execution is by no means inevitable (CA has only executed 13 killers since 1977, 56 have died from other causes and there are over 700 on Death Row currently) .This human flotsam lives on “Death Row”, all the while knowing they will probably live longer than others and be much less likely to be “shanked” or “forced into love” in the prison shower.

      If there is not to be a death penalty, then I would suggest 2 potential changes in the law in relation to those convicted of death penalty offenses.

      First, the State should be required to leave a stout length of rope in their cells. Let’s call this the “compassion cord”. The reasons should be obvious. Let’s allow some “human dignity” for the inmate.

      Secondly, a special category of “justifiable homicide” should be created that would allow any family member, or relative (or authorized proxy) of the victim to kill the “factually guilty” inmate, should the inmate ever be released or have his sentence commuted due to some “lawyering Houdinism” The State should also be required to notify the victim’s family and provide a current address and a photo of the released murderer, as well as his daily itinerary, schedule and routine when and if he is ever released. Let him live the rest of his life looking over his shoulder. Wouldn’t it be fiendishly fun to dress up like Ron Goldman’s dad and follow O.J. around the golf course?

      However, neither the death penalty nor “life without parole” seems completely to be the answer. People would likely be as amazed as they should be alarmed at how many “life in prison” sentenced criminals are actually ultimately released. An officer I know well even personally made 2 self-initiated field-stops of 2 such “life in prison for murder” (1st degree) persons in the course of his 30 year career.

      Consider that would-be presidential assassin John Hinckley was recently released. If he put on a Jodie Foster t-shirt and moved in next door to Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom or former president Jimmy Carter, I wonder if that would effect their view of the death penalty?

  3. Isn’t it odd that the same people that would worry about the most remote possibility that someone was wrongly convicted of murdering a fellow human being, would demand a woman’s right to abortion.
    As I recall there are some 1300 people murdered in California each year, mostly in LA by people that don’t belong here. How many of those 1300 people were murdered by an unborn child?

    Is it possible that the reason our death penalty system isn’t working is the same type people that are in charge of that are the same ones that can’t seem to figure out how to enforce our immigration laws.
    They are broken because we are stupid and keep electing the same people and party to office.

    If you are brain dead, your feeding tube can be shut off and you are left to die, slowly over days or weeks, but an injection of the same stuff the every one of us get for surgery is to painfull for the gangbanger from LA.
    WELL AIN’T THAT TUFF!
    The same people will show no compassion as your mother lays dying for days or weeks in some Obama care death ward, but let’s be nice to the Manson family.

    I have to think what a bunch of stupid dupes Californians are !

    • Because a fetus isn’t a human. Just because you think it is doesn’t make it so.

      • Ella Fino syas:

        “A fetus isn’t a human”.

        Wrong. You were a fetus too, just like everyone was at that necessary part of their life.

        Every human being is a fetus at one stage of their development, just like they’ve gone through the next stage of being a helpless baby that needs to be fed and have its diapers changed, and just like they’ve gone through the puberty stage, and every other stage of their development through old age.

        During their time as a fetus, humans have their own unique brain waves. They have their own blood type, and their own DNA, different from their mother’s and father’s. And it’s been demonstrated repeatedly that a ‘fetus’ experiences and reacts to pain. And why wouldn’t they? They’re human beings at a stage of their development where they are able to feel pain.

        But because you’re trying to excuse the murder of humans during the fetus stage of their development, you parrot the ‘feminist’ narrative that tries to claim that a fetus isn’t human (that’s the plural “you”, referring to every woman who agrees with your logic-challenged excuse for killing an innocent, helpless person whose ‘crime’ is that he/she might disrupt your carreer, or inconvenience your social life).

        Third trimester abortion on demand was a step too far for the feminist movement. They overstepped by condoning and actively encouraging mothers to kill their own kids, based on the false premise that a woman’s ‘fetus’ is no different from a malignant growth that must be excised.

        But that’s just Orewllian Newspeak. In reality, except in the case of rape conceiving a child is your responsibility (and the father’s, too). You deliberately took action that resulted in creating a new human being. It’s your doing, not your child’s. You made that decision. You are responsible.

        But you won’t even put up with the temporary inconvenience of having your baby and putting it up for adoption; aborting the ‘fetus’ is so much easier.

        It’s interesting that in general, men seem to be somewhat more concerned than women by the “right” to ‘terminate’ a baby that in many cases is just days from birth. I don’t understand that discrepancy in views, so maybe someone could explain why men care more about kids’ welfare than their own mothers.

        It seems that women should be in the forefront when it comes to defending the most helpless and innocent individuals in society; the ones who completely depend on their mothers for their existence and survival.

        Actually, I suspect most women feel the same way men feel about it. But they’ve been shouted down by feminist parrots and Planned Parenthood enablers — an organization that incidentally kills thousands of times more blacks every year than the police do. Not thousands of black babies; thousands of times more blacks than are killed by police. But feminists don’t make a peep about what amounts to crimes against humanity.

        I agree with most of the issues raised by the feminists movement, such as equal pay for equal work, and rectifying many other discrepancies. But the feminist contingent went too far in advocating 3rd trimester abortion for convenience. They’re not ‘terminating’ a ‘fetus’, they’re killing a child during a healthy part of its normal development.

        That’s just wrong. You know it, too, when you say “a fetus isn’t human”. Of course it is. You’re a human, and at one stage of your life you were a fetus, too.

        Using your argument, what’s stopping a child from being ‘terminated’ a week after it’s born? Or a month? Right now you can legally kill a child a week before birth — even though its birth as a healthy child could easily be induced at that point, and that person could live a life just like everyone else. Just like you, in fact — if you hadn’t killed it.

        Split hairs all you like. Parse your words if it salves your conscience. But as a matter of right versus wrong, 3rd trimester abortions for convenience are wrong. Period.

  4. JSR and EG make good points about sentencing murderers to life without the possibility of parole. The authors of the proposition are playing word games; when there’s life, there is always the possibility of parole. From Josh’s article:

    “What the polling shows is that there’s a big difference in the way voters react to the question ‘Do you want to end the death penalty, period?’ to ‘Do you think we should replace the death penalty with life without the possibility of parole?’” says Paula Mitchell, an author of Prop. 62 and professor at Loyola Law School.

    They’re gaming the system. As usual. The death penalty question has been repeatedly decided by the public: the people of this state want the death penalty as an option for the most heinous crimes. Prop. 62 would take away that option.

    How many times has the public voted the “wrong” way on an issue, only to have subsequent ballot questions that say or do the same thing — until the lib/prog “correct vote” is acheived?

    An entire sub-set of the legal profession works tirelessly along with its snowflake contingent in colleges and universities, supported by fellow Ivory Tower dwellers in the .edu factories who are insulated from the real world, to make certain that some of those sentenced to death — all for horrific crimes — will eventually be free as a Hillary.

    For those clueless folks I have some news: there are some dregs of humanity that society is better off permanently eliminating for their crimes against humanity. It’s simple supply and demand: there are so many people that we are guaranteed to have a few Jeffrey Dahmers among us. They are reprobates who cannot be ‘fixed’, and who would certainly kill again if given parole.

    As pointed out, “without possibility of parole” is Orwell Newspeak which in reality means “with the possibility of parole”. Because the same folks who are pushing for an end to the death penalty will never be satisfied. They will simply shift gears, and work on freeing those sentenced to life imprisonment “without possibility of parole”, arguing that constitutes a “cruel and unusual” punishment.

    As the article notes, out of 930 death sentences, only FIFTEEN (15) have been carried out! But the 98.4% who dodged their sentence aren’t enough for the authors of this proposition. And it doesn’t matter that those criminals comitted truly horrible crimes, because lawyers like Paula Mitchell are on a Crusade. Right and wrong have nothing to do with it. As far as Mitchell and her ilk are concerned, it’s the state’s voters who were wrong to support the death penalty. She’s determined to keep pounding away at the voters’ ‘wrong-headed’ votes until she gets the ‘right’ result. But after that — no more votes! The issue is settled for all time. That’s the pattern we’ve seen over and over again.

    Does anyone honestly think it’s fair to keep rejecting the decision of the voting public, until a special interest group happens to get the result they want? If that’s the case, then why have votes at all? They’re not really votes, they’re just delays until politicians, lawyers, and the media hammer away at the public enough that they score the one outlier of a vote they’re looking for. Then the vote becomes permanent; not before.

    Rational citizens can make a difference: Vote NO on Prop. 62.

  5. “She and others behind the campaign found voters are much more comfortable with the idea of substituting a life sentence rather than abolishing the death penalty altogether.”

    Basically they are willing to suggest to the public there is a difference between the two when there is not. When Loni Hancock was on NPR Forum for the repeal DP initiative in 2012, the moderator (Krazny, I think) called her on it and she still wouldn’t acknowlege they were the same thing.

    In law, we have advocates for the prosecution and the defense but they can never by statement mislead or attempt to mislead a jury or the court. Clearly in this fight, the advocates feel that they are not bound by such a basic principle. In other words, they won’t even comply with the rudimentary ethics of lawyers. They want to go even lower.

    The public, and even NPR, didn’t buy it before. Let’s hope they don’t go for it this time if for no other reason than to punish the tactic.

    • David,

      The quote at the beginning of your comment is nonsense. Almost everyone on death row desperately files endless appeals. Why? Because they fear the death penalty much more than spending the rest of their lives in a cell — and with “no possibility of parole” they might even get out some day. That’s happened before, no?

      It’s a very rare and newsworthy event if someone on death row says, “No, thanks, no more appeals for me. I’ve had enough life.”

      Instead, they sign their names on every possible appeal they or their lawyers can invent. They fight for life, which they took away from others.

      There aren’t many other things that can as accurately be called “justice”, than taking from the perpetrator the same thing he took away from the innocent victim(s). Fair is fair, and that’s unequivocally fair.

      But the people behind Prop. 62 are infected with ‘Noble Cause Corruption’. They believe their cause is so superior and wonderful that it absolves them of any contrary laws or ethics, and so they refuse to accept the peoples’ past decisions on the matter. They know better than the people, see?

      It might be different, if for once the voting public could also ‘re-do’ past votes, just like the Prop 62 folks are doing now. But we know it doesn’t work that way. For example, in the 2008 Minnesota Senate election, Sen. Norm Coleman got close to a thousand more votes than comedian Al Franken. So Coleman won, right?

      Umm-m… No. They put the election results ‘on hold’, and conducted an official recount. During the official recount, additional boxes of Franken votes were *ahem* ‘found’, and added to his total (no extra Coleman votes were found).

      But it still wasn’t enough; after the official recount, Sen. Coleman had hundreds more votes than Franken. So Coleman won, right?

      Well… no. They finagled a third ‘official’ vote count — and whaddya know? Franken’s people ‘found’ even more boxes of votes! Since no Coleman ballots were found, those extra Franken votes were enough to push him over the top by about 300 votes — a much smaller difference than the first time, when Franken’s people had demanded a recount.

      Then it was discovered that more than a thousand ex-felons had voted illegally. Hundreds of people were prosecuted for illegal voting in that election, and many of them were sent to prison. But did those convictions for voter fraud in a close election make any difference?

      Of course not.

      Franken was promptly sworn in as Senator. No 4th vote count was allowed, even though in the second ‘official’ recount the difference was a much smaller number of votes than in the original vote count, and which had prompted the first of the two recounts. (Also, since both recounts were “official”, and Coleman won the first, but Franken won the second… which ‘official’ recount is the “Official” one?)

      So we can see that if Prop 62, or any similar proposition ever passes, it will just be a replay of the Coleman/Franken shenanigans: the powers that be (TPTB) will keep on trying until they score. We the people don’t get the ‘re-do’ option. Only the elites get to re-do votes that don’t turn out the way they wanted.

      Remember that only progressives are entitled to do-overs. But if they ever win a vote like this, there won’t be any more ‘do-overs'; the public can go pound sand because the TPTB know what’s best for the peons, and they finally got what they wanted. So keep that in mind when voting on Prop 62: if it passes and makes the death penalty illegal, that result will be carved in granite. No do-overs allowed.

      But if the citizens vote on the death penalty the way they always have in the past, at some point TPTB will show us that they had their fingers crossed behind their backs the whole time, and our previous votes don’t matter because, guess what — there’s another ‘do-over’ in the pipeline.

      Only one vote counts: making the death penalty illegal. If they ever get it, the citizens will never get a ‘do-over’. See how it works? Heads we win; tails you lose…

      So, don’t give it to them! Push back! They don’t know any better than the average citizen does about what the people want. They really just want to tell us the way it will be – their way.

      But in this election they’re not special. They’re not super-smart, or the recipients of a vast amount of education or inside knowledge — not that it matters on a subject that they’ve made overly emotional.

      It’s our vote now; it’s not a decree by TPTB: tell ‘em NO on 62.

      They’ll be back if they lose, as usual. That’s how they game the system. But at least this time, the voters can show ‘em who’s boss. And we could all use a little schadenfreude, nein? ☺

  6. As a prosecutor and defense attorney involved in capital cases for 25 years when opponents of capital punishment say, “don’t worry…the worst serial killers will get life….really!”
    No they won’t. There is a dedicated effort to end LWOP (Life Without Parole) which is the next step after eliminating capital punishment. If anyone thinks a criminal doing life will abandon their direct and collateral appeals and save money, think again. I prosecute da non death case whose appeals required two trials and at a third we negotiated a 60-year minimum. The parole board doesn’t care and will release the man who butchered a couple within 5 years, 25 years early.
    Psychologists say the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. The same applies to institutions as individuals.

  7. Death penalty appeals are serial, one issue at a time, first through the state courts, then in the federal courts by a habeas corpus petition . In all civil appeals and in all criminal appeals except death penalty appeals, the appellant’s lawyer gets ONE CHANCE. He/she must state ALL grounds for appeal and is prohibited from going to another court with grounds for appeal that were not previously proffered. If that rule applied to death penalty appeals, we could cut the time down from 20+ years to five. But of course, that will never happen.

  8. The death penalty is no longer viable in modern society where justice relies many, many different people to function, and remains error prone. Between 1973 and 2004, 1.6% of death row inmates were exonerated. The death penalty has been proven to fail, and innocent people have been sentenced to death. The only way to prevent innocent people from being executed is to stop executing people. It is proven reform will save money. Prop. 66 will cost more money. And states without the death penalty have fewer homicides on average, so the death penalty does not prevent crime. It is natural to want vengeance when people do horrible things, but the death penalty cannot be reasonably carried out by large state governments in modern times.

  9. confessed and took police to the body of the murdered little girl..even stated alleged quotes..what the hell is there to appeal? the cases of cpndemned men discovered to be innocent is based solely on Dna evidence advancements…why not make it a “guilt without a doubt= you die without further appeals or hesitation.. and cases where it isnt so obvious but the verdict is “guilty” they serve an indeffinate life term pending evidence of innocense or proof of guilt at which time act accordingly to the general sentence… why make sh*t so complicated? Why feed and house and pay a cable tv bill for someone who admits to murdering a 12 year old child? Why do the same for someone whos flesh and blood & DNA were found beneath the fingernails of a raped and murdered woman/man and whos arms have defensive scratches and house/car has victims blood evidence? When guilt is Unquestionable then wipe the piece of crap off the memory books..the world is too populated..take the money you would have used to feed and house Richard allen Davis and use it to save the life of one starving little girl in some 3rd world country..give her a future and call it a life saved in exchange for his deeds and in place of his useless existence.. bring that child to the US and send her to school..a gift from the victim..and a much more usefull way of spending the millions the state spends on feeding and housing and appeals cases for some dumb admitted kidnapper/murderer.. what is so damn complicated here? If nothing else..execute the dude and apply the savings to put low income smart kids through college… so many better uses for all that cash.. are we really this stupid that we should even have any issues beyond what to do with the money we save by dumping these crass sickos in the proper grinder…and who cares if it hurts when him when the method of execution is rendered.. we should pee on him while hes plugged into a low voltage power supply and make him chew on foil and beg for more while we bleed him slowly.. but if we must keep him alive it should only be to harvest blood and organs untill hes a match for someone who needs a heart..then just tie him up
    and cut it out..no need for anesthetic..im sure he didnt show such mercy to his victim.. and anesthetic is expensive..