Voters Confused Over Dueling Death Penalty Propositions - NBC 7 San Diego

Voters Confused Over Dueling Death Penalty Propositions

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    Voters to Decide on Dueling Death Penalty Propositions

    The passage of Proposition 62 means the end of hte death penalty in California while the passage of Proposition 66 would "mend" the penalty by altering the appeals system. NBC 7's Rory Devine can explain. (Published Friday, Nov. 4, 2016)

    The Election is just a few days away and two major propositions on the ballot are confusing some voters—Proposition 62 and 66.

    Both could mean a historic change for the death penalty in California. While voting yes on Prop. 62 could put an end the death penalty, a yes on Prop. 66 will speed up executions.

    “62 is very clear—it gets rid of the death penalty in California and just like other states who have gotten rid of it, everyone gets re-sentenced to life without parole and we move on,” said Justin Brooks, Director of the Innocence Project.

    District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis says Prop 66 will fix the death penalty system that many feel is broken. It calls for hiring more attorneys to handle inmates’ appeals in a process to speed up executions.

    “It means mending it, not ending it,” Dumanis said. “It takes the problems that currently exist with the death penalty and works to fix each and every one of those.”

    But opponents like Brooks claim there is no way to fix the death penalty.

    “It’s been a 40-year failed experiment in California and this is another bad process in a failed experiment,” Brooks told NBC 7.

    According to Brooks, if Proposition 66 is passed, it won’t speed up the process, claiming it will be difficult to mandate attorneys to takes on cases. He added that the state will not save money but rather costs will be shifted to the local level and lead to the execution of innocent people.

    “It takes a lot to get the death penalty,” Dumanis said. “It requires a jury, unanimously to decide death and then the judge reaffirms that. So we have a lot of checks and balances in the system.”

    Prop. 66 will require two inmates to be placed per cell, as opposed to just one—saving the state money and money, due to a faster appellate process, Dumanis said.

    “We believe that this can be fixed and it should be fixed,” she told NBC 7. “And the worst of the worst should face the death penalty.”

    Both propositions are running close in the polls. If both receive a majority, the one with the highest number of voters could be implemented in the state.