awaiting trial from Seal Beach and Los Alamitos that would be affected if
voters choose to eliminate the death penalty.
Backers of an initiative that would replace the death penalty with a life
sentence without parole will submitted signatures last week in downtown Los
Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento and San Francisco in an attempt to qualify the
measure for the November ballot.
What backers have dubbed as the Savings Accountability and Full Enforcement
California Act has received ``far and above the minimum'' of the 504,760 valid
signatures from registered voters to qualify, according to Jason Howe of
Taxpayers for Public Safety, the campaign on behalf of the initiative.
There are 2 death penalty murder cases awaiting trial from Seal Beach and Los
Alamitos that would be affected if voters elect to eliminate the death penalty.
Scott Evans Dekraai, accused of murdering eight people at Salon Meritage and
Daniel Patrick Wozniak, accused of murdering two people and dismembering one at
the Liberty Theater in Los Alamitos, both face the death penalty if convicted.
The initiative would apply retroactively to people already sentenced to death
and require convicted killers to work while imprisoned, with their wages to be
applied to any victim restitution fines or orders against them. It would set
aside $100 million in savings for DNA testing and fingerprint analysis in an
attempt to help solve more homicide and rape cases.
Passage of the measure would result in net savings to the state and counties of
``the high tens of millions of dollars annually on a statewide basis,''
according to an analysis prepared by Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor and
Director of Finance Ana J. Matosantos.
The initiative's proponent is former San Quentin State Prison Warden Jeanne
Woodford, who oversaw 4 executions. It is also supported by former Los Angeles
County District Attorney Gil Garcetti and the Catholic Bishops of California.
``The death penalty in California is broken and unfixable,'' Garcetti said.
Opponents of the initiative, including the California District Attorneys
Association, say the death penalty deters crimes, and commuting the death
sentences of condemned inmates is unfair to victims' families, who expect
California's death penalty law was approved by voters in 1978 and has resulted
in 13 executions, the most recent in 2006. Since the death penalty was
reinstated, more death row inmates have died by suicide than by execution.
(source: Los Alamitos Patch)
Join the Conversation: Should California abolish capital punishment or overhaul
the death penalty process to speed up executions?