加州将公投是否废除死刑

时间:2016-09-26 16:51:45  / 编辑:Abby
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  Californians to Vote on Ending Death Penalty

  Californians will vote in November on whether to stopusing execution as a form of punishment, orreform the legal process leading up to the deathsentence.

  The state of California currently has about 750people on death row. A lot of them were sentenced to die many years ago, but their cases arestill being appealed in the courts.

  Death penalty process broken

  Activists on both sides of the issue agree that the current system needs to be fixed. Twocompeting ballot measures attempt to do this.

  Proposition 62 would permanently abolish the death penalty in California. If it became law,death row prisoners would have their sentences changed to life in prison with no possibility ofbeing released.

  Proposition 66 would try to speed up executions by reforming parts of the appeals process.The changes would set time limits on court appeals and make more lawyers available todispute death penalty rulings.

  Paula Mitchell is with Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, California. She says Californians havespent way too much on executions since the state brought back the death penalty in 1978.

  Billions spent since 1978

  "California taxpayers have spent $5 billion. The state has executed 13 people. Roughly 100have died on death row before their appeals were finished or before the state could executethem."

  Actor and activist Mike Farrell says the death penalty has killed innocent people. He claims it isused only against poor people and the poorly defended. "It entraps and kills the innocent.There is simply, in my view, no justice and no justification for it."

  Former football player Kermit Alexander supports capital punishment. His mother, sister andtwo nephews were murdered in Los Angeles in 1984. But Alexander said he believes it shouldonly be for justice, not revenge. The man found guilty of killing his family is still on death row,waiting in jail after more than 30 years.

  In addition to California, 30 other American states have the death penalty. But it is rarelycarried out in the United States.

  Sharp decline in U.S. executions

  The rate of U.S. executions has fallen sharply over the past seven years. In 2009, 52executions were carried out, according to the Washington D.C.-based Death PenaltyInformation Center. In 2015, there were 28 executions. This year, there have been 15.

  Many government lawyers say the punishment should be kept for people who carry out the veryworst crimes.

  Mike Hestrin is District Attorney for Riverside County, California. "I think it is a tool that weprosecutors need, and that the justice system needs, in order to appropriately punish peoplethat commit outrageous and heinous crimes.

  Hestrin added that executions are also a way for society to express anger at the crimescommitted.

  Critics like Mike Farrell note that the United States is one of only a few democratic nations tokeep the death penalty. "I think it corrupts the society. And I think it demeans us as people."

  Californians will vote on the issue November 8.

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