For Immediate Release

Monday, October 24, 2016


Ana Zamora

California Editorial Boards Soundly Reject Prop 66

Fresno Bee and San Diego Union-Tribune Change Their Long-Standing Positions on the Death Penalty

San Francisco, CA — More than three dozen California editorial boards have called for voters to reject Proposition 66, which would change death penalty procedures by imposing arbitrary timelines and requiring inexperienced attorneys to handle capital cases. The editorials have cited the risk of executing innocent persons, the likelihood that the measure will only cause further delays, and the cost of carrying out the measure as reasons to vote no.

The Fresno Bee, which has long supported the death penalty, noted, “Indeed, when voters were asked to abolish the death penalty in 2012, we opposed Proposition 34 and opined that capital punishment must play a role in the penal system… ‘instead of throwing out the death penalty, let’s fix the problems in how it is administered,’ we stated in an Oct. 25, 2012 editorial. Those problems haven’t been fixed. Nor will they be remedied by Proposition 66, which might just as well further delay executions – not shorten the appeals process.Today, we urge that voters abolish the death penalty.”

The Modesto Bee writes, “Proposition 66 pledges to reduce pressure on California’s Supreme Court and cut costs by limiting appeals. We don’t believe it. Neither does the legislative analyst, who says it will cost tens of millions of dollars each year to find enough attorneys to handle expedited appeals.”

The measure also sets an arbitrary five-year time-limit by which courts are supposed to decide a series of appeals,” notes the editorial board of the OC Register and 10 other Southern California newspapers. “Expedience should not be the goal in a system that could potentially execute an innocent person. To date, more than 150 people nationwide have been exonerated from death row, including three in California.”

The list of editorial boards urging a No vote on Prop 66 include:

The San Diego Union-Tribune also changed its long-standing position on the death penalty noting that its objection to the penalty was pragmatic. “We recommend a yes vote on Proposition 62 and no on Proposition 66 for a different reason that is more practical than emotional: The branches of California’s government have for decades shown they don’t like the death penalty and don’t want it to be used,” stated the board. “If Proposition 66 were enacted, history suggests its fixes would not be executed with good faith.”

In addition to the editorial boards, a wide ranging group of elected officials, civil rights organizations, unions, murder victims’ families, and former law enforcement have endorsed the No on Prop 66 campaign. The full list of endorsements can be viewed here:

According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), Prop 66 would, “increase taxpayer costs by tens of millions” with even more “unknown” costs in the future. The full report by the LAO is available here.

To get updates from the No on Prop 66 campaign, follow the campaign on Twitter or Facebook, or visit the website:  

To reach the campaign, please contact Ana Zamora at 415-971-2447 or