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Backers of Prop. 34 to repeal death penalty say current system 'too costly to keep going'

Original post made on Oct 25, 2012

Proponents of a measure on the November ballot that would repeal the death penalty in California said Monday the state's current system is far too costly to keep going.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 10:48 AM

Comments (15)

Posted by Bill, a resident of Danville
on Oct 25, 2012 at 6:47 am

This is such an easy question. Currently it costs California over 230 million with the death penalty a year and if they were kept in prison forever without parole it would cost a little over 12 million a year. Do the math. The current system is the trough at which the trial lawyers feed and we pay them to eat.

Posted by XO, a resident of Danville
on Oct 25, 2012 at 7:28 am

It is funny how the one issue that the liberals suddenly worry about the costs of a government program is the death penalty! If you oppose it on religious reasons, I respect that. But, please, for you liberals to claim the cost is the problem for you, that is as phony as Obama claiming he supports the Second Amendment.

Posted by Dave Templeton, a resident of Danville
on Oct 25, 2012 at 8:50 am

Vote NO on 34. The problem is our system of appeal after appeal after appeal after appeal after appeal. A death row inmate is almost one hundred times more likely to die of natural causes because of bleeding heart Liberals. Can you say Jerry Brown and Rose Elizabeth Bird? We need to send a few of our "leaders" on a fact finding junket to Texas.
We have carried out the death penalty 13 times in the last 35 years...
Texas can do that in a good month!

Posted by Citizen Paine, a resident of Danville
on Oct 25, 2012 at 9:06 am

Wow, Dave, your bloodlust is evident. Please step away from the rack for a moment and consider the following:

1 -- the appeals system ain't gonna change -- it's built-in to ensure that the State gets it right, and it's based in our Constitution. Blame the lawyers if you must -- everybody else opposing any Proposition does, after all -- but fact is that the $300 million per execution is too much to pay for revenge. And it's built-in; comes with the territory, an unavoidable cost.

2 -- what do you do about the 138 innocents, sentenced to die, who have been later exonerated based on DNA and other evidence? Or that poor bastard in your beloved Texas who was wrongly convicted of killing his kids in a fire, and then railroaded to his death by Rick Perry, so he could, as he bragged, demonstrate his cajones? The justice system is just Not that good.

3 -- It's no policy argument to use this issue as an excuse to throw stones at leebruls or trot-out people you don't like. In any forum more serious than playground recess, that's not argument -- it's name-calling. Go sit in the corner.

Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville
on Oct 25, 2012 at 10:42 am

Bravo, Citizen Paine, for adding some reason to the discussion.

Bill - From what I read, trial lawyers are hardly clamoring for death penalty cases or appeals. There aren't enought lawyers skilled in death penalty cases to serve the need and move cases along faster. And the rate paid on such cases is only $145/hour -- far less than most lawyers charge.

Posted by Rick Pshaw, a resident of Danville
on Oct 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I don't get it. If it costs 230 million dollars a year with the death penalty and 12 million dollars a year without, why is there such a difference? The prisoners are in prison either way. Don't tell me that it's because of much higher security requirements for people on death row, they're still in prison either way, aren't they?

It's obvious that the 218 million dollar extra cost per year is almost totally external to the prison environment. Now ask yourselves, what costs are external to the prison environment?

Here's a hint, "legal system."

Posted by Citizen Paine, a resident of Danville
on Oct 25, 2012 at 1:28 pm

And Rick -- we're all stuck with the legal system we've got.

So the question you need to answer is the following: is it worth that much money just to kill somebody occasionally? Executions don't happen often enough to be a deterrent, and I keep coming back to all those folks who were wrongly convicted. How much is it worth to you to kill one of them, every so often?

Posted by Rick Pshaw, a resident of Danville
on Oct 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm

CP, you totally missed the point. I don't want to kill anyone but I do want to know why it costs another 218 million dollars for substantially the same incarceration environment.

Posted by Citizen Paine, a resident of Danville
on Oct 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Then read the study. It's here: Web Link

We look forward to your report!

Posted by Rick Pshaw, a resident of Danville
on Oct 26, 2012 at 8:32 am

From a liberal university - it's certainly unbiased...

I'll plead a Pelosi and not bother to read this document. I don't need to read it to find out what's in it.

Posted by Citizen Paine, a resident of Danville
on Oct 26, 2012 at 8:43 am

Rick: next time, please save me the bother of finding you the source document (it's only 35 pages), and just honestly indicate that you are seeking a flimsy excuse to allow your preconceptions to overcome any vestigial curiosity about the way things Actually Are. I could have provided you with several of those, as they are quite common on this Board.

Trash-and-dash is a poor substitute for critical thought.

Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville
on Oct 26, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Rick -
I think what CP was trying to explain to you, in answer to your question, is that the significantly higher cost for death row inmates is not merely the cost of incarceration. It's the cost of the various levels of trial, habeas petitions, and appeals that are mandated by law for capital cases. And that includes attorney time on both sides of the case, as the State is usually paying for both.

Those are just the facts. There's nothing biased or ideological about the facts. People will differ about the best solution to this problem; but, the facts are just the facts.

Posted by Rick Pshaw, a resident of Danville
on Oct 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm


I very much appreciate your balanced explanation. Balance is sometimes sorely lacking on this plank/board.

Posted by Jake, a resident of Alamo
on Oct 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm

It is interesting that cost trumps justice! Is the death penalty about punishment or how cheap we can make it? Speaking of the costs; how about the cost to the society resulting from the crimes that even in this permissive state would command the death penalty. You will always win the cost argument if you only count the costs on one side of the ledger only. I grant you that it is disappointing that in our "civilized" society we have still have the type of crimes that compels the society to impose the death penalty, however, it our realty. Wish it weren't so! By the way, you must know that the cost argument is being used against the three strike law also.

Posted by treetopper, a resident of Danville
on Oct 29, 2012 at 8:47 pm

I would prefer we keep 100 killers alive for the rest of thier natural life rather then kill one innocent person. There is no true justice.

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