On October 19 at the 163rd Convention of the Diocese of California of the Episcopal Church exhibitor Katrina’s Dream http://www.KatrinasDream.org
announced that on November 6th, 2012 at sunrise where they will be gathering at the West Gate at San Quentin Prison calling on voters to replace the Death Penalty here in California. They will be spotlighting Prop. 34 at the Election Day Vigil. The convention passed a resolution calling for diocesan support of the Proposition 34, which replaces the Death Penalty with a life sentence. http://www.diocal.org/sites/default/files/media/PDF%20Docs/2012_resolutions.pdf
Active in prison law reform, the small group has been holding vigils since February 7, 2011. http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/01/28/18670488.php
The group felt compelled to bring attention that that past January, Governor Brown granted an extension to the Department of Corrections to amend their budget to include 356 million dollars for remodeling (http://www.ccpoa.org/news/monthly/2011/01/
) and that U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel would be inspecting last years remodel at a cost of $900,000. The February vigil garnered extensive coverage by the local networks. http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/judge-to-tour-san-quentins-new-death-chamber/nKhdR/
Then on April 28, 2011, after a few months of vigils Governor Brown scrapped the remodeling, which had been set in motion when former Governor Gray Davis was in office. http://www.nbclosangeles.com/blogs/prop-zero/Brown-Kills-Death-Row-Remodel-120887919.html
On Monday, June 27th, Senator Loni Hancock amended her existing bill SB490, turning it into a vehicle for carrying her death penalty legislation. Please see http://dist09.casen.govoffice.com/index.asp?Type=B_PR&SEC
A few months later the ACLU and several groups collaborated and signatures were gathered putting Prop 34 on the 2012 November ballot.
According to the Loyola Law Review Study by U.S. 9th Circuit Judge Arthur L. Alarcon and Loyola Law School professor Paula M. Mitchell, titled, "Executing the Will of the Voters: A Roadmap to Mend or End the California Legislature's Multi-Billion-Dollar Death Penalty Debacle", the abolishing the Death Penalty will save the state about 200 million dollars a year. Please see http://media.lls.edu/documents/LoyolaLawReview_CADeathPenalty.pdf
The authors outlined three possible directions:
1) fully preserve the system of capital punishment at an additional cost of $85 million for courts and lawyers each year (they are approximately 100 attorneys in California qualified to work on the now mandatory Death Penalty appeal cases);
2) reduce the number of death penalty-eligible crimes for an annual savings of $55 million; or
3) abolish capital punishment and save taxpayers about $1 billion every five or six years.
Besides saving taxpayers billions of dollars, the fact that hundreds of innocent people have been exonerated, such as, Damon Thibodeaux, who was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death for murder in 1997. The Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana, along with the Innocence Project and a team of private pro-bono counsel took his case on appeal and eventually obtained DNA evidence that Mr. Thibodeaux was not the murderer. http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/10/04/free-last
“Mr. Thibodeaux’s case shows in vivid detail that with the death penalty, we always risk executing an innocent person,” said Natasha Minsker, Campaign Manager for the Yes on 34 Campaign. “Mr. Thibodeaux is just one example – there are 140 death row exonerations nationwide to date and hundreds of wrongful convictions just in the state of California. Last year alone, Franky Carrillo, Obie Anthony and Maurice Caldwell were released from prison after spending a cumulative total of 57 years behind bars because of wrongful convictions. The only way we can eliminate the risk of a fatal, irreversible mistake in California is to vote YES on 34.”
People reading this are invited to join the small group at the Election Day Vigil at San Quentin. Support for Close the Death Chamber: Election Day Vigil is welcomed on Facebook. [http://www.facebook.com/events/263993593684451/?context=create
As well as visit the Yeson34.org event page for events in their area http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1265/p/salsa/web/common/public/content?content_item_KEY=12035
Katrina’s Dream is the full inclusion of women in society and other social justice issues.