Rev. John Dear, Fr. John Dear, SJ
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace

It was exciting to be in Los Angeles over the weekend to join friends in Pax Christi L.A. for their annual assembly day, this year with the theme, “Blessed are the Peacemakers.” It was also exciting to feel the momentum building for Nov. 6, when Californians have to opportunity to vote Yes on Proposition 34 and end the death penalty.

California is on the verge of a historic moment, and I hope and pray every Californian will join the campaign to abolish the death penalty once and for all.

All summer long, churches throughout the state have been mobilizing to get out the vote and get rid of the death penalty. This week, Sr. Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking, arrives for an eight-day statewide speaking tour. She told me how excited she is, too, because the churches are at the front of the movement, and there’s a palpable sense of hope in the air. Friends at Death Penalty Focus of California are working overtime to end the death penalty.

Proposition 34 will replace California’s death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. It will require inmates to work and pay restitution to the victims’ compensation fund and will allocate $100 million in the next three years to solve more murders and rapes in California and protect our families….

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One thought on “DEATH PENALTY: California’s historic opportunity to end the death penalty

  1. The 729 on death row murdered at least 1,279 people, with 230 children. 43 were police officers. 211 were raped, 319 were robbed, 66 were killed in execution style, and 47 were tortured. 11 murdered other inmates.

    The arguments in support of Pro. 34, the ballot measure to abolish the death penalty, are exaggerated at best and, in most cases, misleading and false.

    No “savings.” Alleged savings ignore increased life-time medical costs for aging inmates and require decreased security levels and housing 2-3 inmates per cell rather than one. Rather than spending 23 hours/day in their cell, inmates will be required to work. These changes will lead to increased violence for other inmates and guards and prove unworkable for these killers. Also, without the death penalty, the lack of incentive to plead the case to avoid the death penalty will lead to more trial and related costs and appeals.

    No “accountability.” Max earnings for any inmate would amount to $383/year (assuming 100% of earnings went to victims), divided by number of qualifying victims. Hardly accounts for murdering a loved one.

    No “full enforcement” as 729 inmates do not receive penalty given them by jurors. Also, for the 34,000 inmates serving life sentences, there will be NO increased penalty for killing a guard or another inmate. They’re already serving a life sentence.

    Efforts are also being made to get rid of life sentences. (Human Rights Watch, Old Behind Bars, 2012.) This would lead to possible paroles for not only the 729 on death row, but the 34,000 others serving life sentences. On 9/30/12, Brown passed the first step, signing a bill to allow 309 inmates with life sentences for murder to be paroled after serving as little as 15 years. Life without parole is meaningless. Remember Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan. Convicted killers get out and kill again, such as Darryl Thomas Kemp, Kenneth Allen McDuff, and Bennie Demps.

    Arguments of innocence bogus. Can’t identify one innocent person executed in CA. Can’t identify one person on CA’s death row who has exhausted his appeals and has a plausible claim of innocence. See

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