The San Diego Union-Tribune reports, "Coalition talks of backing death penalty reforms," by Teri Figueroa.
A coalition of members of local law enforcement agencies met Thursday to discuss backing reforms 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.
Members of unions representing sheriff’s deputies, police officers and prosecutors in the county met with state Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee, as well as survivors of murder victims whose killers remain on death row to talk about backing a proposed initiative for reforms.
The initiative is still in the drafting stages, and wouldn’t hit the state ballot any sooner than November.
"San Diego Law Enforcement Groups Push For Death Penalty Reform," is by Amita Sharma for KPBS.
California taxpayers shell out $184 million each year to cover living and healthcare expenses for the state’s 740 inmates on death row. Death penalty trials cost $1 million more than noncapital-punishment cases. The state Supreme Court’s calendar for these cases is so choked up, it can take nearly 20 years to hear the appeals. And California hasn’t put any convicts to death in more than seven years because of problems with the lethal injection process.
It’s against this backdrop that a group of local public safety agencies and people who’ve lost loved ones to murder met Thursday to call for death penalty reform. Kermit Alexander’s mother, younger sister and three nephews were murdered by a hired killer in a case of mistaken identity in 1984. The killer — Tiequon Cox — remains on death row.
Death penalty reform advocates want to establish a single-drug injection procedure and streamline the appeals process. But California Western School of Law professor Justin Brooks said the process can’t be shortened because capital punishment trials by their nature are time-consuming and costly.
“The death penalty is on its way out in the United States, just as it's gone out in the rest of the world,” Brooks said.
Brooks said five states have abolished the capital punishment in recent years. California voters narrowly defeated a measure last year to outlaw the death penalty.
Earlier coverage from California begins at the link. You can jump to coverage of last year's repeal ballot initiative.