Under the initiative, death penalty cases would no longer automatically be appealed to the state supreme court – where they can sit unheard for years. They would instead go first to state courts of appeal.
The measure’s supporters say it would also end the housing of inmates in single cells at San Quentin’s death row.
“By allowing the department of corrections to place these inmates wherever is best on an individual basis, we can avoid unnecessary expense,” says Kent Scheidegger with the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.
But, opponents disagree. They say life sentences without parole are much less wasteful and costly.
“Those people will never get out of prison,” says Former Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti. “And we can use those monies to both solve unsolved murders and use the resources to prevent crimes by keeping kids in school.”
If backers gather enough signatures, the measure could appear on next fall’s ballot.