L.A. Times Commentator: It’s Time to Dump ‘Fantasy’ of Death Penalty


“Officially, Proposition 34 is about whether to abolish the death penalty and replace it with life in prison,” George Skelton writes in a Los Angeles Times commentary. “But that’s not the pertinent question. The death penalty already effectively has been abolished in California. Capital punishment exists only in fantasyland. Condemned killers essentially have been living out their natural lives behind bars.”

He continues, “The relevant question is whether we should keep pouring tax money down a rat hole, feeding a broken system that shows no signs of ever being fixed. California has executed only 13 people in the last 34 years, and none since 2006. A study last year found that the state had spent $4 billion to administer capital punishment since 1978. That’s about $308 million per execution. So for me, Prop. 34 is not about the merits of capital punishment. It’s about whether we should keep paying extravagantly for something we’re not getting.”

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