Have you ever read the Green Mile by Stephen King? No? It is about a man executed for a crime he didn't commit. Because the story was written by the wonderfully imaginative Stephen King there are supernatural elements within the plot, but that only adds to the horror that an innocent man was put to death. Now put your imagination aside for a moment and look to the real world. On November 8th, Californians are voting on Proposition 66. It is a ballot initiative that, if passed, would speed up the death penalty's initial petitions process. Why does that matter? Speeding up the process would either eliminate or weaken some of the safeguards our justice system uses to prevent executing an innocent person.
Why do I bring this up? Because this issue isn't about whether or not you are for or against the death penalty. It is about ensuring that the wrongfully convicted are not put to death. It is about making sure our justice system gives grieving families actual justice by ensuring that an actual guilty person or party is caught, tried and sentenced. Because our law enforcement and court systems are flawed (because as humans we are flawed) we can't do that without checks and balances.
Retired Santa Clara County District Attorney Karyn Sinunu-Towery's op-ed in The Mercury News about Prop 66 explains, in detail, the dangers of speeding up the process. When you get a moment check it out. Your vote could be a matter of life or...death.
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October 15, 2016
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