This year there are two death penalty initiatives on the ballot. Proposition 62 would abolish the death penalty, so that the highest penalty for murder would be life without the possibility of parole (LWOP). It would increase the percentage of wages earned by people serving LWOP that is diverted to “restitution to victims’ families” to 60 percent. It is supported by a broad coalition of civil rights, civil liberties, anti-death penalty, justice reform, queer, and religious groups, as well as a number of politicians and the state democratic party. Although it would abolish the death penalty, as we have said before in UV, LWOP is a human rights abuse in itself, and we should be working for prison abolition.
Meanwhile, people who like the death penalty have sponsored Proposition 66, which would “speed up” the death penalty by attempting to limit appeals and the ability to introduce new evidence, and would require more attorneys to handle death penalty appeals. It would require people sentenced to death to work and pay “restitution.” It is supported by district attorneys, law enforcement, the state republican party, the tea party, and “victims” groups.
If both propositions pass, the one that gets the most votes will control what happens where the two are in conflict. If 66 passes, the pro-death people hope that more people will be executed. If 62 passes, people currently sentenced to death will be commuted to LWOP. If neither passes, things will remain as they are.
LAGAI does NOT support LWOP and does NOT support prison slave labor. LAGAI does NOT think proposition 62 is good. However, we think it’s important that anyone who votes in California vote both YES ON 62 and NO ON 66, in order to prevent more executions.