Calif. Victims' Group Opposes Abolishing Death Penalty

Tuesday, 15 May 2012 09:56 AM

By Robert Engler

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A victims’ rights group is asking a California appeals court to remove a proposition to abolish the death penalty from the November ballot, calling the initiative a “cruel and deceptive measure.”
 
In a petition filed Monday on behalf of a murdered police officer’s family, the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation said the initiative illegally combines unrelated provisions in one ballot question, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

“This kind of manipulation, forcing the people to vote on two different measures as an all-or-nothing choice, is exactly what the single-subject rule was put in the Constitution to prevent,” the foundation’s legal director Kent Scheidegger said in a prepared statement.

The ballot proposition, called the Savings, Accountability, and Full Enforcement for California Act (SAFE), would abolish the death penalty, commute the sentences of death row inmates to life without parole, and earmark $100 million in state law enforcement funds for murder and rape investigations.

“This is a cruel, deceptive measure. It tries to drive a wedge between two groups of murder victims’ families, telling one group that they will have money to pursue justice in their cases but only by denying justice to the other families,” Scheidegger said.

Jeanne Woodford, a former San Quentin prison warden and head of the SAFE for California coalition, said she expects the court to reject the petition and allow voters to decide the issue.

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