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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.

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 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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