Dick Price: In question was wether a soul-killing sentence of lifelong imprisonment with no chance of ever being released is any more humane, any more decent, any more sensible than the uncertain prospect of eventual execution on Death Row.
James Clark: The state’s death penalty is an ineffective waste of tax dollars that we simply can’t afford, yet while the Governor and Assembly slash everything from preschool to geriatric care, the state remains poised to spend $1 billion on the death penalty over the next five years.
David Holtzman: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger can help. In what very little time he has left in office, he can give his legacy a considerable boost by commuting the state’s hundreds of pending death sentences to life in prison without possibility of release. As a Los Angeles resident on the world’s stage, he should be sensitive to his image at home and abroad.
Natasha Minsker and Ramona Ripston: Los Angeles County, home to California’s largest trial court system, has been feeling the pain of those court closures in more significant measure than most. It recently laid off more than 300 staff and is moving forward with shutting down 12 courtrooms. But meanwhile, a parallel trend is stalking the county that’s exacerbating the budget crisis. Astoundingly, Los Angeles County has become the leading death penalty county in the United States. In fact, in 2009 more people were sentenced to death in Los Angeles County than in any other state, including Texas, the longtime leader in this grim statistic.