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Panel Kills Sen. Anderson’s Effort to Speed Death Penalty Appeals

Marc Klaas: The Public Safety Committee “has done nothing to help families of murder victims.”

Updated at 2:50 p.m. April 17, 2012

Two measures to help “streamline” the state’s death penalty process were defeated Tuesday by Democrats on the Senate Public Safety Committee, according to a press release from state Sen. Joel Anderson, the plan’s chief advocate.

Only two votes favored the measures—Anderson’s and fellow Republican Tom Harman’s. At least four Democrats on the seven-member panel opposed the plan, said Anderson aide Jim Kjol.

“This committee has done nothing to help families of murder victims,” said Marc Klaas, father of 12-year-old Polly Klaas who was kidnapped and slain by Richard Allen Davis in 1993.  “Nothing has changed in all these years—Richard Allen Davis still lives while my daughter doesn’t.  I appreciate Senator Anderson efforts, but the majority on this committee isn’t interested in real justice for victims.”

Anderson—whose 36th District includes La Mesa, Santee, Rancho Bernardo, Poway and Ramona—said: “The Beltway Sniper was arrested, tried and convicted in two states, and executed in seven years.” 

“In California these convicted death row prisoners often outlive their victims’ short lives on earth.  These two measures would have helped tackle part of the unreasonable delay of enforcing the death penalty in California.”

Anderson's press release continued:

Specifically, Senate Bill 1514 would have eliminated the automatic appeal of every death penalty case and Senate Constitutional Amendment 20 would have required that any appeals of death penalty cases go to the State Court of Appeal rather than the State Supreme Court.

Both SB 1514 and SCA 20 were also supported by “Three Strikes” author Mike Reynolds, father of 18 year old Kimber Reynolds who was murdered in 1992, and by San Joaquin County District Attorney Jim Willett, a veteran prosecutor for over 31 years.

Original story from Feb. 26, 2012:

State Sen. Joel Anderson has been an advocate for streamlining the execution process in California, which can last for decades as appeals are heard.

In a last September, Anderson compared the number of inmates executed in Texas with the number in California, “where the average time from sentencing until punishment is about 25 years.”

“In the last 20 years, California has executed only 13 murderers while Texas has executed over 400. Justice delayed is justice denied,” Anderson wrote.

Last week, Anderson introduced two measures intended to streamline the implementation of the death penalty in California.

Under Senate Bill 1514, prisoners sentenced to death would no longer get an automatic appeal, according to a release issued by Anderson’s office. Senate Constitutional Amendment 20 would require that appeals of death penalty cases go to the state Courts of Appeal, instead of the Supreme Court of California.

According to Anderson’s office, SB 1514 would make California the first state to eliminate automatic appeals of death penalty cases.

“The most heinous murderers should not be afforded special appeal rights beyond those of other convicted criminals,” Anderson said in a statement. “If anything, the sooner these violent murderers are executed the safer it will be for law-abiding citizens.”

The Republican senator represents the 36th District, which covers a large part of East County and reaches into Riverside County.

Pearce Handrick February 27, 2012 at 08:58 PM
It's totally broken, even leaving aside the time factor. Too many mistakes have been made, too much bias, too much cost when a much cheaper option exists--LWOP.
Doug Curlee April 18, 2012 at 01:42 AM
statistically, very FEW mistakes have been made..if you stack up the actual number of people on death row, and comparfe that against the people who've been exonerated, it's a very, VERY small number.. and yes, i covered a very touching story about a man who spent 21 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit..but that was an anomaly, and he wasn't on death row, anyway.. the death penalty in this state needs to be enforced..people voited for it, and i suspect they're going to vote for it again..i certainly hope they do.. doug
Saul Rubinowitz April 18, 2012 at 02:16 AM
How!? Just How does this person keep getting re-elected to "represent" me and my family and my neighbors in Sacramento? He is an embarrassment to himself, to his family and to his constituents. He is continually on the wrong side of every issue in our states capital. Effectively doing nothing but collecting his salary his full health benefits and scoring sweet trips around the world payed for by the lobbyists who's bills he is voting on! Full of contradictions and hypocrisy. Won't fund schools, so our children suffer, but sends his children to high priced private schools and home schools them, calls himself a christian, but wants people put to death. If only redistricting had banished him to the far-east county like it did for another Waste of tax payers dollars Duncan Hunter Junior! He talks a good game, gets endorsed by the right 'Pastor', but if people payed attention they would understand that California will continue to under perform, in education, in infrastructure, in services, if it elects people like this to its State Senate. I say recall him now!! It is our duty as citizens to do this. If I get 10 affirmations of this, I will start the petition drive myself. Who is With Me!!??
Doug Curlee April 18, 2012 at 02:54 AM
saull.. in this particular senate district?.. i won't say no one is with you.. but comparatively speaking?..damned few.. doug
Kevin George April 18, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Here's how it works Saul: You get a vote and I get a vote.
Christine Phillips April 18, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Hmmmm, Doug not according to the above poll. Not scientific, but enormously opposite of what you just said. I thought we lived in a country where every human being was guaranteed an opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The death penalty taking the life of one innocent person is a further insult to the victims. Their is a fine line between revenge and justice. Many call themselves Christians while basically ignoring some of the most important instructions God gave us. Thou shalt not kill, has no footnotes.
sheeple herder April 18, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I say stack'em up to the sky... And for those that say, "oh, we can't execute anyone in the fear that an innocent person MAY be on death row"... Don't you know everyone in prison is, "innocent"...? Just ask them, they'll tell you.
Things I Learned April 18, 2012 at 04:02 PM
The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness means we can't execute people who might be innocent so we should just imprison them for life. Science is overrated. We should base our criminal justice system on improperly translated religious proscriptions.
Doug Curlee April 18, 2012 at 04:07 PM
well, christine, you're approaching it from a religious point of view.. i'm approaching it from a legal point of view.. are you saying that everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness includes those who have killed?..keeping them alive in prison certainly does away with their "liberty, doesn't it?.. you can call it vengeance.. i call it squaring accounts..they took a life...or in many cases, several lives..now they get to pay the bill for that.. we live in a form of government that says the majority rules..and the majority in our state has decided that capital punishment is what they want done.. that's good enough for me.. i've never been one to make decisions based on what polls say..in my career, i've seen way too many polls manipulated to prove what the sponsors want them to prove.. i'll go with the voters, and my own reaction.. doug
Things I Learned April 18, 2012 at 04:30 PM
FREE KEVIN GEORGE! Free all commenters!
Kevin George April 18, 2012 at 04:48 PM
We agree again doug(sic). I consider the death penalty a time machine. If you could go back to the instant that someone was being murdered. And you had the power to put a gun in the hand of the victim. What do you think the victims stance on the death penalty would be at that moment? We are just doing what the victim would have done if he/she had the chance.
Dave Patterson April 18, 2012 at 06:51 PM
I fail to see how executing a person fixes anything. If we consider killing wrong, and prosecute someone for it, how does it make it OK for the state to kill that person? It's a lot cheaper keeping someone in prison for life than executing them. Let's check our testosterone and consider moving a little further from the cave.
Batman April 18, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I see nothing wrong with abolishing the death penalty... if law abiding citizens are allowed to carry guns. There is no evidence the death penalty deters crime. But there is plenty of evidence armed citizens deter crime, and not necessarily by shooting anyone. The majority of these street hoodlums are only brave when then odds are overwhelmingly in their favor, when things even up they very quickly chicken out. Every cop on the beat understands this. Every high ranking law enforcement official and politician understands this also.
Batman April 18, 2012 at 07:39 PM
I agree. Mr. Anderson is wasting his time and ours with this death penalty stuff. He should sponsor a right to carry bill instead. Armed citizens deter crime.
Anthony Finchum April 18, 2012 at 08:29 PM
As you correctly point out, Anderson has been in the minority ("on the wrong side," to you) of many issues in Sacramento. That's because your ideological allies are the majority. They've been running California (into the ground) for decades. So if he's been "on the wrong side," how can he be the cause of California's woes? California has been dominated by committed, hardcore leftists for decades. You should feel right at home!
Tom Yarnall April 18, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Saul, I do believe your rantings apply to most all politicians,from both your party and Republicans. Please tell us something new and enlighten us.
Libi Uremovic April 19, 2012 at 02:06 AM
we have the scienfic ability to verify 100 % guilt...and we can all agree that some people should never be allowed to live in society..... there's no reason why we can't find a compromise and execute the 'top 20'
Batman April 19, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Why am I being censored? Let me try this again. I see no problem abolishing the death penalty if law abiding citizens are allowed to carry guns. The death penalty has not been proven to be a deterent to crime. Armed citizens are a deterent, and not nesessarily by actually using their guns. The mere ability to defend one's self is sufficient to thwart an attack. The vast majority of these street hoodlums are only brave when the odds are overwhelmingly in their favor. When the odds even up they very quickly chicken out. Every politician, sheriff, police chief and cop on the beat understands this. Why don't you?
Steven Bartholow (Editor) April 19, 2012 at 09:34 PM
No one's being censored. The commenting is being buggy today and the engineers are on it. All comments should find their way to the correct place in the near future. Thanks for understanding.
Batman April 19, 2012 at 11:08 PM
ooooo-kay.
Earlene April 21, 2012 at 03:55 PM
"It's a lot cheaper keeping someone in prison for life than executing them."..... What??? I see your teachers failed to teach you math, Dave. According to Calif. statistics, the average inmate costs the State approximately $47,000 per year (all paid by taxpayers). Multiply that by a few decades for appeals,, etc. and we're talking thousands and thousands of dollars....possibly a million! That does not include those inmates who have medical problems and are even more costly to the State. One injection to resume room temperature for a murderer costs only a few bucks! When I think of the death penalty, I think of the horrific kidnap and murder of little Daniel Van Dam girl a few years ago. David Westerfield, still sits on death row and will most likely be there for decades, still breathing, eating, watching TV, while his victim lies in a cemetery with parents whose hearts are broken, having to live with the memory of their daughter and what happened to her. The death penalty wasn't meant to "fix" things. It's purpose is to serve justice to those murderers who've wrongly taken the lives of the innocent. Give me the syringe.....I could put an end to Westerfield in a heartbeat!

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