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California: With state executions on hold, death penalty foes rethink ballot strategy

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California advocates of abolishing the death penalty got a jolt of momentum in March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he would not allow any executions to take place while he was in office.
But after trying twice this decade to persuade voters to end capital punishment, they have no plans to go to the ballot again in 2020. Rather than seeking to build on Newsom’s temporary reprieve for Death Row inmates, activists are taking their own pause.
Grappling with the legacy of their two failed initiatives, advocates are reassessing their strategy and retooling their message. Natasha Minsker, a political consultant who has long been involved with abolition efforts, said the governor’s moratorium has given advocates the opportunity to do long-term planning.
“There’s this excitement and energy in our movement that we haven’t had in a long time,” Minsker said.
Newsom’s executive order caught many Californians by surprise. Although he supported the unsuccessful ballot measures to abolish t…

California Governor Candidate Wants Death Penalty on Spending Chopping Block

Stewart Alexander says "The Democrat front-runner Jerry Brown and Republicans Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner support the death penalty and the Three Strikes law. The truth is, these 3 candidates for governor are aware that capital punishment is robbing the public of billions of dollars to subsidize a broken down criminal justice system." (Left: Exterior of the new San Quentin Death Chamber.)

Candidate Alexander wants to eliminate death penalty and Three Strikes law

There is a side of capital punishment that most Californians remain completely oblivious to; it is the tremendous cost to taxpayers. PFP Governor Candidate Stewart Alexander says if he is elected to serve as California Governor, "capital punishment and the Three Strikes law will be on the chopping block to reduce wasteful spending in Sacramento."

California taxpayers will spend an average of $250 million ($250,000,000) for each prisoner on death row and most of the cost is related to the high cost of capital trials, housing the death row inmate, the high cost for defense counsel and the tens of millions required to appeal convictions. The Three Strikes law has also over burdened California's budget by billions annually and has escalated prison over-crowding.

It was reported in a Los Angeles Times article that it is estimated that Californians paid an average of a quarter of a billion dollars for each of the 11 inmates executed after 1977. Presently, there are over 700 inmates on California's death row.

In 2006, while running as a Candidate for California Lieutenant Governor, Stewart Alexander conducted a random survey of 150 adults in Riverside and San Diego County to determine the awareness of the public regarding an average cost to taxpayers for inmates on death row; the cost for trials, housing, appeals, prosecutors and defense counsel.

Of the 150 individuals surveyed, 127 believed the cost could range between $100 thousand to 5 million dollars. None of the participants surveyed thought the cost exceeded $10 million. 7 individuals chose not to participate.

Alexander believes the issues concerning capital punishment are much deeper than the cost to the state. Alexander says, "Killing prisoners is big business in California and the U.S. Inmates on death row are the poor and minorities and for them 'Lady Justice' is not blind."

The Peace and Freedom Party and all the 2010 PFP candidates running for public office are strong opponents to capital punishment and the Three Strikes law and support reforming our prison system and criminal justice system.

Stewart Alexander says "The Democrat front-runner Jerry Brown and Republicans Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner support the death penalty and the Three Strikes law. The truth is, these 3 candidates for governor are aware that capital punishment is robbing the public of billions of dollars to subsidize a broken down criminal justice system."

Source: Central Valley News, April 24, 2010


Photos of California's new lethal injection facility at San Quentin









(Above) Holding cell (exterior) where the inmate will be held prior to the execution.


(Above) Holding cell (interior) where the inmate will be held prior to the execution.










(Above) Lethal injection control room. The safe on the right of the picture is where the lethal drugs will be kept until execution time.

(Above) Media viewing area.

(Above) Execution chamber and gurney.


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