There is legislation in the works in California, which if passed, could put an end to the death penalty in California. Loni Hancock, a Democratic Senator from Oakland, is working to have the death sentence reduced to life in prison without parole. If this law is passed, those currently on death row in California will automatically switch to serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Senator Hancock has a long and arduous road in front of her if she is going to get SB490 amended to do away with the death penalty. This type of amendment can only be made with the Governor’s approval and a statewide vote. If the bill goes through, it could be voted on by Californians as early as November 2012.
Hancock cites several reasons to do away with the death penalty. First of all, in light of California’s gaping budget deficit, Hancock points out that the death penalty could cost Californians as much as $9 billion by the year 2030. Also, several studies have shown that the death penalty does not act as a deterrent when it comes to the commission of the most horrendous crimes. Additionally, there is always the possibility of wrongful conviction. There is the chance that innocent people could be put to death.
According to DeathPenaltyInfo.org, 34 states currently have the death penalty. Since 1976, there have been 1,259 executions in the United States. Since 1973, more than 130 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence. That’s 130 lives!
The California criminal defense attorneys at Sitkoff & Hanrahan know that only time will tell whether the death penalty becomes eliminated from California. As defense attorneys who fight for the rights of Californians, we understand that the death penalty is a complex issue. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, please contact our law offices at 866-430-8383 to find out how we can help defend your rights.