The Bakersfield Californian declares “California’s death penalty system is broken,” and prop 66 should be “defeated.” While the paper is sympathetic to death penalty proponents, declaring that “[t]here are many very bad, dangerous people on California’s death row” who “deserve to be executed for their crimes,” the paper realizes that “[i]t’s time to end this madness” by voting no on prop 66.
Prop. 66 was drafted primarily by prosecutors, correctional officers and crime victim advocates.
Despite proponents of prop 66 claiming that it can accomplish savings, the “state’s legislative analyst was unable to calculate the financial impact of Prop. 66.” This is because any savings from Prop 66 are “uncertain as executions are still being halted by disputes over the way they are being conducted. And the ambiguities of Prop. 66 also will likely provoke costly court battles.” In other words, there will be more money for lawyers with no savings for taxpayers.
The paper also noted “Prop. 66 will have no impact on the federal courts, where death penalty delays are common.” As an example, the paper asked readers to consider Lawrence Bittaker, who was sentenced to death in 1981 and who is still waiting on his federal appeal to be heard. Prop 66 will not speed up federal appeals. Under the supremacy clause of the U.S. constitution, it cannot—and Californians will be on the hook for costly death row accommodations while appeals are pending.
The Bakersfield Californian’s message is clear: even if you support the death penalty, prop 66 is not the way to mend this broken system.