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The Madera Tribune

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Opinion: Death penalty on hold

March 16, 2019

Governor Gavin Newsom has decided to ignore the will of the electorate by placing a moratorium on the execution of death row inmates. According to a story in the Modesto Bee, it has been 13 years since California last executed an prisoner.

 

Clarence Ray Allen, 76, died at 12:20 a.m. on Jan. 17, 2006. If our new governor gets his way, he could be the last person to be executed in the Golden State. Newsom’s moratorium withdraws California from its lethal injection protocol, closes the execution chamber in San Quentin State Prison and issues a reprieve, though not a pardon, to the 737 inmates on death row.

 

Allen spent more than 22 years on death row before dying from a lethal injection according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

 

Proposition 66, the Death Penalty Procedures Initiative, appeared on the Nov. 8, 2016, ballot in California as an initiated state statute. The measure was approved. It was supposed to take effect immediately.

 

A yes vote supported changing the procedures governing state court appeals and petitions that challenge death penalty convictions and sentences, including requiring the amount of time that legal challenges to death sentences take a maximum of five years.

 

Past governor Jerry Brown and present governor Gavin Newsom have long been opponents to the death penalty regardless of the will of the people.

 

I like to think of myself as a liberal because the idea of being a conservative grates on my nerves. The older I get the less liberal my thoughts.

 

Keeping an inmate incarcerated in California costs $47,000 per year. An inmate on death row costs an additional $90,000 a year according to Google.  If the state upheld the law a death row inmate would be executed in five years.

 

Receiving medical care, three meals a day and a place to sleep inmates live very long, if unproductive lives.

 

Many cases don’t even try to get a death penalty verdicts because it takes too long to exhaust all the possible appeals. The average time an inmate spends between sentencing and execution is 178 months roughly 15 years according to Google. Most die of natural causes waiting for their appointment with the needle. Prosecutors in Indiana, Florida and Texas have stopped seeking the death penalty because of the endless delays for appeals. The pain and heartache suffered by the family of crime victims is such a tragedy. Knowing that the person who harmed or killed their loved one is still breathing has to be excruciating.

 

Being incarcerated is its own form of torture. The stories that come from the men and women correctional officers go from disgusting to terrifying. They are relatively well paid with opportunities for medical benefits and retirement pensions. Those are important aspects of a career. One day your 20 and want to dance all night and the next thing you know, you are grateful to just be ambulatory.

 

Long days and pleasant nights, have a great weekend.

 

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Readers, may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing tamijonix@gmail.com or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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