Seeking the death penalty’s demise
August 29, 2011
Taxpayers for Justice announced a signature-gathering campaign aimed at giving state voters a chance to weigh in on replacing the death penalty with life without possibility of parole.
In June, the state Senate unanimously approved a bill which would have accomplished the same result, with Sen. Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) part of the 39-0 majority. The bill, SB 490, then died in an Assembly committee.
Erin Mellon, a spokesperson for Taxpayers for Justice, said in a statement, “We have ample evidence that California’s death penalty system is dysfunctional and costly. The death penalty costs California taxpayers approximately $170 million a year… $ 4 billion since 1978.”
Taxpayers for Justice describes itself as “a coalition of law enforcement professionals, crime victim advocates, and individuals exonerated from wrongful conviction.” The group’s more outspoken members include Gil Garcetti, a former Los Angeles district attorney responsible for dozens of death penalty prosecutions; and Jeanne Woodford, former San Quentin State Prison warden who oversaw four executions.