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Three Ex-Governors Get Behind Measure to End Death Penalty Delays

Gray Davis, Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian sign the petition that may put a pro-death penalty initiative before the California voters in November.

Death Row at San Quentin Prison. Patch file photo.
Death Row at San Quentin Prison. Patch file photo.

Three former governors signed a petition today aimed at putting an initiative before voters in November designed to end lengthy delays in California executions, but a death-penalty opponent called the proposal “deeply flawed.”

Former Govs. Gray Davis, Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian were among those attending a Los Angeles news conference to throw their support behind the proposal, which would shorten the length of the appeals process and require death-row inmates to share cells with other inmates -- a move supporters say would save millions of dollars.

“All three governors believe strongly that there should be a death penalty for the most heinous crimes in this state,” Davis said.

There has not been an execution in California since 2006.

“Families wait too long to finally get to that point where somebody's life is going to be taken for the crimes they have committed,” San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos said.

Former professional football player Kermit Alexander, whose mother, sister and two nephews were killed in a 1984 home-invasion robbery in South Los Angeles, was also among those backing the initiative.

“My family was murdered brutally,” he said, noting that his relatives were killed “in a wrongful death situation because apparently the murderer couldn't read the right address and went to the wrong house.”

“We've been waiting over 30 years for justice,” he said.

Supporters of the initiative must collect more than 800,000 signatures to get the proposal on the ballot.

Matt Cherry, executive director of Death Penalty Focus, said the initiative is misguided.

“This deeply flawed initiative is full of legal and practical problems, and will only increase litigation and costs,” he said. “No matter what anyone might say, California's death penalty has repeatedly proven to be broken beyond repair. Instead of increasing the risk of executing innocent people and adding even more costs, we need to replace the dysfunctional death penalty system with life in prison without the possibility of parole.:

Cherry said support for the death penalty “is at historic lows, and more states are realizing that there are simply too many flaws in the system.”

--City News Service

Smokey Bear February 16, 2014 at 04:22 AM
They did the crime which got them to death row, now flip the friggin switch already! I don't want to pay for their 3 meals a day, free gym & cable TV. For those who oppose, just think of the poor victims of these crimes & put your family member name in place of the victim & soul search to see how you really feel. Because I believe that life is a gift & if you take a big steaming dump on it, then you deserve what is coming to you!!
Donkey Howdy February 16, 2014 at 09:55 PM
what if I think about the rather high percentage of innocents that die in the death chamber? There's more than a couple.. Hope it doesn't happen to be me one day..because some eyewitness lies, because some DA lies or creates evidence..
quercus February 17, 2014 at 06:38 PM
If it is immoral to kill, generally; and I think it is- the death penalty is a bad idea. When one adds how often the government gets things wrong, the death penalty is a really bad idea.
Chip Long February 17, 2014 at 07:29 PM
Execute them. . . . . they deserve to die! the world will be a better place without them.
Ben Dover February 17, 2014 at 09:34 PM
The State needs to Expedite the process, they should schedule all the executions back to back and confiscate every cable/sat channel and televise it live. Let all people regardless of age watch, what happens when you harm others. The victims should get to flip the switch. Maybe a running man type of show but with the victims picking the weapons of death. A whole bunch of holes will need to be dug, more shovel ready jobs for Obama to fund.

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