While I do not normally discuss politics on this blog there are two important criminal law propositions on the California Ballot Tuesday.
Proposition 34 would abolish the death penalty and replace it with life without parole. Californians should vote for it regardless of how they feel about the death penalty. Since 1978 only thirteen people have been executed in California. Many more have died of natural causes on death row. The current system is is really life without parole while paying billions for a death penalty, At the same time we risk killing innocent people. DNA evidence has proved that innocent people end up on death row. Proposition 34 is not perfect. Many of us think that life without parole is cruel and unusual punishment or that the savings from abolishing the death penalty should be used to fund Innocence Projects not police departments. But its time to end the death penalty, vote yes on 34.
Proposition 36 would modify the Three Strikes law. Currently California has one of the toughest three strikes laws in the country. As long as a person has two prior strikes he/she can get 25 to life for any felony conviction. For example if a person has two robbery convictions 40 years ago as a teenager can get 25 to life for stealing a pizza. If Proposition 36 is passed the third strike would have to be either a serious or a violent felony (such as residential burglary or robbery.) Yes, we would be better off without the Three Strikes Law but this is a step in the right direction. Vote yes on Proposition 36.