California Debates Alternative Death Penalty Approaches: Repeal or Repair


The death penalty is emerging as a contentious issue in 2012, both in California’s Capitol and at the polls, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. There are two competing approaches: repeal or repair. Which direction California takes, if either, will probably remain unanswered until fall. Death penalty opponents have collected more than enough signatures to qualify an initiative for the November ballot asking voters to repeal capital punishment and replace it with life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“It doesn't make sense to continue to throw money into a death penalty system that doesn't work,” said Catherine Thiemann, chairwoman of a San Diego County coalition. State Sen. Joel Anderson, meanwhile, believes in the death penalty but says it needs to be fixed. He has introduced legislation to speed up executions by eliminating long-standing California law that requires death penalty cases to be automatically reviewed by the state Supreme Court. “We can all agree justice delayed is justice denied,” said Anderson, who contends the delays weaken the deterrent value.

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