Death Penalty is Costing Tens of Millions of Dollars while we are Sinking Further into Debt
There’s one question that our Los Angeles criminal appeals attorneys at Wallin & Klarich keep thinking about in regard to the death penalty: when will the California legislature put an end to the death penalty in California?
This past week the California Supreme Court decided that a man who has been on death row for almost twenty years should receive a new competency hearing and likely a new trial. For almost twenty years the taxpayers of California wasted a tremendous amount of money to keep this man on death row. Now, after almost twenty years, the court is giving this guy a new hearing. Does this sound nuts to anyone else?
How can it take close to 20 years for the highest court in our state to reach this conclusion? If this defendant was in fact denied a fair trial, why wasn’t that decided 18 years ago? The answer is that our criminal justice system is completely broken when it comes to death penalty appeals.
It often takes years for the court to find a lawyer willing to take on a death penalty appeal. The appeals take literally hundreds of hours to prepare by any competent appellate lawyer. Additionally, the Attorney General must reply and that takes a tremendous amount of time. Then, the defendant’s appellate lawyer can file a reply brief.
This year alone four different death penalty verdicts have been overturned. In each of those cases, the decisions have come years after the original conviction. It was reported two weeks ago that Scott Peterson’s appellate lawyer finally filed their opening brief eight years after Mr. Peterson was sentenced to die.
This is not justice. Justice should be fair, but it also should be swift so both the accused and the victims can have a resolution of the legal matter. The current death penalty law in California must be tossed out.
In November of this year California voters will have a voice. They can either continue to allow this craziness to go on, or they can do the right thing for everyone and say we no longer can “afford” the luxury of “attempting to execute” people for crimes they commit in California. This is both a moral and economic issue. The United States is one of the few civilized nations that permit the death penalty. California is billions of dollars in debt, and we are spending millions on keeping death penalty inmates segregated while in custody. We are paying millions of dollars to lawyers (when we can even find them) who spend years acting as appellate lawyers for death penalty inmates. What makes it even worse is in the last eight months four death penalty convictions were reversed. This means the District Attorneys in these cases may try them all over again, which will cost even more money the state doesn’t have.
We sure would like to know your feelings on this important topic.
The California criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich count with over 30 years of experience defending clients facing all types of criminal charges. If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime in California, please call Wallin & Klarich today at 888-280-6839 to receive our immediate assistance. We’ll be there when you call.