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The death debate

July 05, 2009

Re "Death penalty opponents speak out," July 1

California's death penalty and its politics continue to baffle me.

Why would ending a killer's life fulfill a "debt to society"?

Why not have these felons do genuine work to pay the bills -- 40 hours of it a week -- just like we do?

Richard Mandl

Canoga Park


Re "Death row's dicey math," Opinion, July 1

The overwhelming condemnation of proposed new lethal-injection procedures at the first-ever public hearing on execution methods in the state indicates that the public is waking up to the flaws of our capital punishment system.

The death penalty is too barbaric, too costly, too random and too often wrong.

Nancy Oliveira

San Francisco


Thank you for the enlightening article concerning California's largely unused death penalty. Although advocates argue that its mere existence prevents crime, their evidence is at best equivocal.

The purposes of punishment, such as deterrence and retribution, are thwarted by a punishment that has not been carried out in this state for more than three years.

What is clear is that California can no longer afford the death penalty.

Harold E. Shabo

Los Angeles

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