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: Thousands of Californians are joining together to call on local district attorneys to stop seeking death sentences until voters get a chance to weigh in on this broken system.
Andy Love: Three trials. Three state appeals. Three state habeas corpus petitions. One round of federal habeas proceedings. Thirty-two years under sentence of death only to die of a heart attack. This is madness.
Andy Love: In a sworn statement in support of clemency, a psychiatrist noted that “Rhoades’ genetic and social history created a perfect storm of risk factors for drug addiction.”
Richard C. Dieter: The public is deeply skeptical of the capital punishment process, shocked at its enormous costs, and quite ready to replace it with alternative sentences.
James Clark: Out of more than 900 men and women sentenced to die in California only 13 have ever been executed. Victims’ family members are dragged through decades of appeals and hearings while they wait for an execution that rarely comes.
James Clark: Put another way, we spend $184 million more per year for death penalty inmates than we do on those sentenced to life without the chance of parole. All told, California is on track to spend $1 billion on the death penalty over the next five years.
James Clark: The dominoes are falling fast as more and more people in California are learning what a waste the death penalty has become.
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.
Natasha Minsker: It’s time to stop playing the killing game. Let’s use the hundreds of millions of dollars we’ll save to protect some of those essential services now threatened with death. Let’s stop asking people like me to lie to those victim’s family members.
Nyabingi Kuti: Governor Brown was against the death penalty as a two-term Governor years ago. Why didn’t he commute death sentences when he first entered office in 2010? Why do we have to lobby him to do this, at a time when it is fiscally prudent?
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.