Thursday, June 30, 2016
Californians for Fair Justice Response to Qualification of Flawed Ballot Initiative
Poorly Written Measure Would Damage Justice System, Increase Taxpayer Costs
SACRAMENTO – Jeanne Woodford, former Warden of San Quentin State Prison issued the following statement on behalf of Californians for Fair Justice, a coalition that opposes the Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act.
“This poorly-written and purposefully confusing initiative would add layers of government bureaucracy, inundate courts, and increase taxpayer spending on prisons at the expense of other priorities. This measure removes important legal safeguards and limits a death row prisoner’s ability to present new evidence of their innocence– greatly increasing California’s risk of executing an innocent person.
Independent analysis by the state estimates this measure will cost taxpayers “tens of millions of dollars annually” and the long-term fiscal impact is “unknown.” California taxpayers should be aware of this measure’s dangerous unintended consequences and reject this misleading initiative.”
Californians for Fair Justice opposes the Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act, a measure that, according to the state Legislative Analyst’s Office, will cost “tens of millions of dollars annually” and the long-term fiscal impact is “unknown.” [LAO, 12/9/15]
“Combing through the initiative’s 16 pages is like looking through the first draft of an undergraduate paper. The wording is vague, unfocused, and feels tossed off.” [SF Weekly, 6/15/16]
The measure enacts dangerous legal shortcuts, increasing California’s risk of executing an innocent person. These include arbitrary time limits, mandated appointment of attorneys lacking experience that could lead to costly mistakes at trial and requiring lower courts to hear death penalty cases before other caseloads.