In 1978, a state ballot initiative written by Donald Heller, a former prosecutor, gave California one of the strongest death penalty laws in America. Now he and others are working to ban capital punishment via a November vote. “It’s been a colossal failure,” Mr. Heller told The New York Times. “The cost of our system of capital punishment is so enormous that any benefit that could be obtained from it—and now I think there’s very little or zero benefit—is so dollar-wasteful that it serves no effective purpose.”
Among the more than 600 inmates on California’s Death Row at San Quentin are David Westerfield, the Carmel Mountain Ranch man convicted for the murder and kidnapping of 7-year-old Danielle Van Dam in 2002, and Scott Erskine, convicted in the 1993 slayings of boyhood friends Charlie Keever and Jonathan Sellers in South Bay.
Would you vote to end the death penalty in the state and make the sentence life without possibility of parole?