California's death penalty is broken beyond repair. Since its reinstatement in 1978, 13 people were executed, while more than 90 died of suicide and natural causes and more than 700 inmates are engaged in constant post-conviction litigation. Litigation costs, as well as the costs of maintaining death row, are costing California taxpayers $150 million more per year than if all death row inmates were serving life without parole.
On July 16, Judge Carney of the U.S. District Court decided that, given the unreasonable delays in death penalty application, capital punishment in California is unconstitutional. The flaws in the death penalty cannot be fixed by streamlining the appellate process because of the grave concerns for wrongful convictions.
If California abolishes the death penalty, it will join 18 states, and the District of Columbia, and create a critical mass that may propel us to the 21st century and into the company of Western industrialized countries, all of which have abolished the death penalty many decades ago. This is a historical opportunity to do the right thing.
The CA Attorney General owes CA taxpayers, citizens, victims' families, and everyone else, a smart-on-crime policy that saves funds while preserving public safety.
If the Attorney General's office does not appeal the decision, no other party will have standing to do so, and Judge Carney's brave order will stand. I call upon Ms. Harris to do the right thing, as her office did in Hollingsworth v. Perry (the Prop 8 case) and refrain from appealing a decision that she knows is right, prudent, and just.