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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…

Trinidad and Tobago: Government working to implement death penalty

January 22, 2012: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says Government will work to implement the death penalty in Trinidad as part of a serious crime reduction tool.

Persad-Bissessar was delivering an address yesterday at the Ministry of National Security Planning Workshop organised by the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS) yesterday at the Hyatt Regency (Trinidad) hotel, Port of Spain.

With 30 murders in the first 21 days of the year, she said Government is aware of the upsurge in the homicide rate although it has been reduced significantly from 2009 to 2011.

“Despite the fact the statistics for 2011 reveal a decrease in homicide and serious crime, Government is appalled at the brutal nature of the crime. The cautious optimism with which we viewed last year’s statistics…should not be misinterpreted as complacency,” she said.

She said because of this the People’s Partnership government is prepared to use all the resources including the death penalty to vigorously pursue and contain criminal activity.

“To this end my government is committed to implementation of the death penalty which remains part of the laws of Trinidad and Tobago… We shall continue in our effort to facilitate the re-implementation of the death penalty so it might both punish the guilty and deter the would-be offenders,” she stated.

She said regrettably the Constitution Capital Offences Bill 2011 which required a special majority in Parliament did not receive the support of some members.

She said her Government that had introduced 11 other pieces of legislation to aid in combating, including the Abolishing of the Preliminary Enquiry Act, the DNA Bill among others.

Persad-Bissessar said since her Government took office back in May 2010, it had been attempting to address “the tsunami of crime that has hit Trinidad and Tobago”.

“We have pledged to the people of this country that we are going to rid the country the scourge of criminal elements which have been allowed for too long to thrive and prosper on the decent, innocent and hard-working people,” she said.

She added that the Government was compelled to admit that criminal violence occurred too regularly.

Earlier in her address, Persad-Bissessar crime and violence threatened the welfare of citizens and economic growth.

Minister of National Security John Sandy said the workshop was aimed at developing a policy where the Caribbean Basin becomes a safer and more secure place to work, live and do business.

Attending the workshop were United States Ambassador Beatrice Welters, Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs and various Government MPs.

Source: Trinidad Express, January 22, 2012

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