A Call for Hearings & Reaffirmation of the Party's Support of a Moratorium on the Death Penalty

Resolution Number SAC 09.18A

A Call for Hearings & Reaffirmation of the Party’s Support of a Moratorium on the Death Penalty

WHEREAS,
the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice was established in 2004 and has undertaken a thorough review and analysis of the death penalty in California; and

WHEREAS,
the Commission determined that California's death penalty system, instituted by a 72% yes vote of the California electorate in 1978, is plagued with excessive delays in the appointment of qualified counsel and review of habeas petitions and a high rate of granting of new penalty hearings. The Commission found that failures in the administration of California's death penalty law create cynicism and disrespect for the rule of law, increase the duration and costs for confining death row inmates, weaken any possible deterrent benefits of capital punishment, increase the emotional trauma experienced by murder victims, and delay the resolution of meritorious capital appeals; and

WHEREAS, the Commission recommended the California legislature address the unavailability of qualified attorneys by increasing funding for the Office of the State Public Defender, the California Habeas Corpus Resource Center and Office of the Attorney General; adequately compensate private counsel assigned to these cases and fully reimburse counties for defense services; further, the Commission did not recommend retention or abolition of the death penalty but did offer two alternatives available to California to reduce the costs imposed by California's death penalty laws; reducing the number of death penalty cases by narrowing the list of special circumstances that make one eligible for the death penalty and second, replacing the death penalty with a maximum penalty of lifetime incarceration without the possibility of parole;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party supports the recommendations of the Commission as noted above and also urges that hearings be conducted to address the two alternatives the Commission put forth to reduce the costs of California's death penalty system; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the California Democratic Party reaffirms its support for a moratorium on the death penalty in California.

Submitted by the Resolutions Committee

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Adopted by the Democratic State Central Committee of California
AKA "California Democratic Party"
At its Annual State Convention
Sacramento Convention Center
April 26, 2009

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