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The governor’s executive decision to halt the death penalty in California is stirring opinions on both sides of the issue, however, a state lawmaker is taking the decision a step further and advocates to abolish the death penalty altogether.
The Assemblymember Marc Levine who represents Marin County where San Quentin State Prison is located said the death penalty goes against California values.
Levine said, “It is a daily reminder as I drive that freeway exit that we have a law on our books that put people to death and it is not just and does not make Californians safer.”
Levine co-authors the Assembly Constitutional Amendment 12 that aims to turn the permanent pause on Capital Punishment into a permanent end.
Californians had the option to get rid of the death sentence in the 2016 election but the measure failed.
But Levine said there is a current progressive wave that may result in a different outcome if the question is back on the ballot.
Levine said, “Prop. 187 in the 90s and that hateful prop. 8 denying marriage equality just a few years ago but California has progressed.”
He also argues death row cases require more court appeals which are all paid with tax-payer money.
The Riverside County District Attorney, Mike Hestrin, agrees it is more expensive but in some cases it is necessary.
Hestrin said, “Sure it would be cheaper not to ever seek the death penalty but it would also be cheaper to never prosecute anybody, so you got to seek justice and sometimes you got to pay for it.”
The assemblymember said life in prison with no parole is also a severe form of justice without having to take a life for a life.
Levine said, “I can’t allow for an innocent person to be put to death and I think that the risk of that is extraordinarily great.”