An editorial on Prop 66 in the San Francisco Chronicle warns that even “the most ardent advocates of capital punishment should be wary of the promises in Prop 66.” Calling Prop 66 a “highly complex, probably very expensive and constitutionally questionable scheme,” the editorial shows how Prop 66 will cause bureaucratic bloat, spread delays to the rest of our justice system, and cost taxpayers millions.
More Bureaucracy and Even More Delays
Prop 66 adds more layers of bureaucracy by requiring death penalty cases to first go through the superior court system before they move to the state Supreme Court.
By moving those death-penalty proceedings from the Supreme Court to the already caseload-heavy superior courts at the county level, as Prop. 66 proposes, the civil and criminal justice system is likely to be overwhelmed by complex capital cases. Are Californians really ready to accept further delays in everyday cases for the sake of a few faster executions?
Although Prop 66 claims to speed up processing death penalty appeals it cannot succeed. This is because “the state initiative, by its very nature, has no effect on the treatment of appeals in the federal courts — which often are the greater source of delay.”
Increased Costs to Taxpayers
To combat the problems Prop 66 aggravates will cost taxpayers millions. The editorial on Prop 66 points out that to fix the lack of qualified attorneys to represent defendants, the government will likely have to “significantly raise the compensation level, and budgets for discovery, to attract well-qualified attorneys.” And to combat the delays Prop 66 will cause to overburdened superior courts, the government would have “to significantly boost court spending.”
Voters are wise to be wary of Prop 66.