LOS ANGELES – Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez released the following statement endorsing Yes on Prop 62 to replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole:
“I support the Justice That Works Act because I believe the death penalty is not administered in a fair, efficient or effective manner. Despite decades of research, commentary and judicial review, the death penalty in California remains an ineffective deterrent and does not meet the constitutional standards of due process. The JTWA provides for life without parole, restitution to victims and ensures convicted criminals stay in prison.
“That is why, after careful consideration and 20 years’ experience in public office, I have concluded that we must end the fruitless attempts at reform and simply end the death penalty in California. “
“I call on all Californians to support Justice That Works Act. We must take action to ensure that justice is served, society is protected and victims receive restitution whenever possible. When society undertakes to impose the ultimate sentence on its citizens it must meet the most stringent standards of fairness and due process.”
California death penalty facts
Currently, the death penalty costs 18 times as much to administer as life in prison without parole. California taxpayers have spent $5 billion since 1978 to put thirteen people to death, at a cost of $384 million per execution.
In addition to being costly, the death penalty has proven to be ineffective justice. It drags out the legal process for decades, denying closure to many victims’ families. Due to its arbitrary application and other factors, the death penalty does not achieve any of its supposed crime deterring benefits according to a 2012 National Academy of Sciences study. The death penalty system has also come under criticism for racial and economic bias.
Despite lengthy appeals guaranteed by constitutional due process rights, the risk of executing an innocent person is unavoidable. DNA technology and new evidence have proven the innocence of more than 150 people on death row around the country. In California alone, 66 people had their murder convictions overturned because new evidence showed they were innocent.
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