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Dear friends,

This November, voters will make decisions about the future of the death penalty in four referendums being held in three states: California, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. Over the coming months, we will share information with you on each of these referendums. Our focus this month is on California.

Both the Nebraskan and Californian pro-death penalty measures are worded in a way that seems designed to confuse voters. Because of that, if you're a voter in one of these states it's crucial that you educate yourself on these measures and pass along what you learn to your voting friends. So please share this newsletter with anyone you know in California.

From the heart,

The peril for California

On November 8, California voters will be faced with not one, but two decisions to make concerning capital punishment. The two death penalty propositions on California’s ballot this year are as different as night and day:
  • Proposition 62 seeks to abolish California’s death penalty and replace it with a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.
  • Proposition 66 seeks to speed up California’s death penalty by removing many of the legal safeguards in place to protect death row prisoners’ Constitutional rights.

Vote YES on Proposition 62

A "yes" vote on Prop. 62 is a vote to end the death penalty and replace it with life in prison without parole. Prisoners already on death row would be resentenced. Prop. 62 would result in savings to taxpayers of about $150 million annually.

The Yes on 62 campaign is leading the charge to get Prop. 62 passed and condemn the death penalty to California’s past. You can follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

Vote NO on Proposition 66

A "no" vote on Prop. 66 is a vote to reject changes to legal and regulatory safeguards surrounding executions. Proposition 66 is worded as a death penalty "reform" measure, but it is, in fact, a catastrophic acceleration of executions. Prop. 66 would impose severe time limits on direct appeals, time limits that are unrealistic given the huge backlog of cases in California. Fiscally, the potential savings Prop. 66 could bring to taxpayers are unknown. In fact, it is possible that Prop. 66 could make implementing the death penalty in California more expensive. And because Prop. 66 seeks to eliminate constitutionally protected rights, if it passes it is sure to face litigation in court, costing California more money.

The No on 66 campaign is working tirelessly to stop this reckless experiment with our justice system. You can follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.


The largest death row in the USA

California’s death row population currently stands at 746 men and women. That’s one quarter of all death row prisoners in the United States. Since 1978, California has only carried out 13 executions while 104 death row prisoners have died of natural causes, suicide, or in prison altercations (see this report). Sixty-four of California’s death row prisoners have had their sentences reduced or vacated in that same span of time (see here). Why should California spend another dime on a system that is broken beyond repair?

Upcoming Executions - Texas is at it again

Looking at the executions scheduled for the remainder of 2016, only one state has plans to execute its citizens: Texas. (Ohio has stayed all its executions until at least 2017 while it attempts to procure a new source of lethal injection drugs.)

When you consider that there are over 2900 people on death rows nationwide with less than 9% of the death row population in Texas, then you'd think that the "unusual" part of "cruel and unusual" would surely apply. So far, the Supreme Court has not attended to the geographical freakishness of capital punishment in the US.

31           TX           Rolando Ruiz - Stayed

14           TX          Robert Mitchell Jennings
19           OK          Albert Johnson - Stayed
21           OH          Kareem Jackson - Reprieve granted

5             TX          Barney Fuller
19           TX          Terry Darnell Edwards

19           OH          Robert Van Hook - Reprieve granted

2             TX          Ramiro Gonzales
16           OH          Jeffery Wogenstahl - Reprieve granted


We’d love to hear from you.

Let us know what you’d like to see in future editions of Death Penalty Discourse, what tools and resources you’re using in your community, and how Dead Man Walking has impacted your life. Contact us by email and like us on Facebook for updates and current news.


Copyright © 2016 Ministry Against the Death Penalty, All rights reserved.

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