New Report: Death Penalty Process Dysfunctional
Commission Chair John Van de Kamp
A new report finds California’s death row system must be reformed or it faces collapse. That conclusion comes from the Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice. The group was charged with investigating wrongful convictions and executions.
Monday, June 30, 2008
You’ve probably heard it before: The average California death row inmate waits 20-25 years before execution….roughly twice the national average. Commission Chair and former State Attorney General John Van de Kamp says that costs the state millions – and hurts the process:
“The failures in the administration of California’s death penalty law increase cynicism and disrespect for the rule of law, increases the duration of cost in confining death row inmates, weakens any possible deterrent benefits of capital punishment.”
Van De Kamp says condemned inmates are four times more likely to die of natural causes than be executed. The Commission recommends spending an extra 100 million dollars a year to beef up the offices of the state public defender and Attorney General to help reduce waiting time. Now the report is in lawmakers’ hands who can decide whether such changes merit funding in a tight budget year.