Sheila Kuehl: This measure comes at the same time as a growing interest in the effects of solitary confinement in small, windowless, cells, on prisoners in state prisons.
Andy Love: Being on the front lines, capital defense practitioners have experienced first hand the unfairness, arbitrariness and unreliability of California’s capital punishment scheme.
Saturday Survey: Keeping its lead in the nation’s death penalty derby, Texas yesterday conducted its twelfth execution this year, putting a mentally impaired Frank Garcia to death for killing Hector Garcia, a police officer, ten years ago. In line with another execution yesterday in Texas, this week’s poll gathered your thoughts on the effectiveness and morality of the death penalty in America.
The term of a supreme court justice ends one of four ways; retirement, resignation, impeachment conviction, or death. However, only one Supreme Court justice has been impeached, Samuel Chase. Impeached in 1804, Chase was acquitted and remained on the bench until his death in 1811. So, to sum it up, if one were to rely on history to forecast the future, the likelihood of a justice being impeached and removed is slim to none.
Natasha Minsker: For years, presenting oneself as a hammer battering crime was a requirement. This time around, a hard-line stance alone without a plan for effective and budget-conscious enforcement is the new electoral kiss of death. Californians are weary of budget cuts to valued social services and cautious about wasteful spending on ineffective or lower priority criminal justice policies, like the $1 billion over the next five years that will be poured into death penalty spending.
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.