March 12, 2012
This page has a long history of opposing the death penalty. As far back as 1971, before the alternative sentence of life without the possibility of parole had been devised, we were pining for such a choice. If there were a way to ensure that convicted killers would remain in prison for life, a member of The Times' editorial board wrote during the Nixon administration, "would it not be better to forgo, in some humility about the limitations of human judgment, the imposition of the ultimate punishment?
January 9, 2012
Balancing the budget Re "Schools face huge cuts in Brown plan," Jan. 6 I'm a conservative, but at this moment in California's history, I stand in awe of the brilliance of the state's liberal politicians. By primarily targeting education for cuts if higher taxes aren't approved by voters, they've ensured this never-ending goal is a fait accompli . After all, who is against having more of their money confiscated by government if it helps our kids? Wouldn't it have been refreshing if Gov. Jerry Brown had instead called for a reduction in California's myriad free money programs, referred to euphemistically by The Times as "social service programs," in an amount equal to the deficit?
January 3, 2012 |
With a drug cocktail that puts death row inmates to sleep, California's capital punishment can hardly be said to be cruel — but it is so unusual that death row inmates in the Golden State routinely die of old age or by suicide. When, or more likely if, justice comes, it doesn't come cheap. By some estimates, it costs $100,000 a year per prisoner to keep California's 718 inmates alive on death row, thanks in part to the endless, often frivolous appeals brought by inmates and death penalty opponents.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 29, 2011 |
The number of death sentences issued in California dropped this year to 10, one of the lowest levels since the state reinstated capital punishment in 1978. The decline, from 29 in each of the last two years, may signal that the decades-long appeals process for capital convictions and a 6-year-old moratorium on executions have encouraged prosecutors to seek life sentences without the possibility of parole in more murder cases. California's less frequent resort to the death penalty puts it roughly in line with a national trend that has seen such sentences decline by 75% in the last 15 years.
December 26, 2011
North Carolina is in the midst of a struggle between the governor and the Legislature over whether death row inmates should be allowed to use statistical evidence of racial bias to challenge their sentences. In our view, they should. Some communities have imposed the death penalty in such an unequal way that it makes sense to deprive them of the power to do it again. Among the compelling arguments against capital punishment are its inherent brutality and its potential for error. But documented patterns of racial discrimination in sentencing are also well established and deeply troubling, particularly in cases in which the crime victim is white.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 24, 2011 |
Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who heads the state's judicial branch and its highest court, said in an interview that the death penalty is no longer effective in California and suggested she would welcome a public debate on its merits and costs. During an interview in her chambers, as she prepared to close up shop for the holidays, the Republican appointee and former prosecutor made her first public statements about capital punishment a year after she took the helm of the state's judiciary and at a time when petitions are being gathered for an initiative to abolish the death penalty.
November 25, 2011
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber angered prosecutors, victims' families and doubtless many voters this week when he granted a reprieve to all 37 of the state's death row inmates for the duration of his term. In doing so, he committed one of the most courageous and conscientious acts we've seen on the national political stage in some time. Kitzhaber made his announcement following a decision by the state Supreme Court clearing the way for the Dec. 6 execution of Gary Haugen, who was convicted of killing Mary Archer in 1981 and stabbing a fellow prison inmate to death in 2004.
October 29, 2011
What if the state executes an innocent person? That's a central question in the debate over the death penalty that David B. Rivkin Jr. and Andrew Grossman did not address in their Oct. 26 Op-Ed article defending capital punishment on constitutional grounds, says Thomas Wright of Oak Park, Ill.: "Rivkin and Grossman have good arguments but miss an elephant: the likelihood of irreversible error. There being no appeal from the grave, we have to accept the certainty of a mistaken execution when we accept the death penalty.