Pine Box or Ballot Box

Examining the California SAFE Act

By: Donald Young

This is our time to abolish capital punishment in California via the ballot box. If we allow this killing machine to resuscitate, we can expect executions of the more than 725 death row prisoners at a rate that will send shock waves throughout Texas.

Which side are we on? We cannot stand in the middle of the road this time. Abolish capital punishment in California or support government sponsored premeditated murder of death-row prisoners. We have over 14 people with fully exhausted appeals. The sole protection that stands between them and a pine box . . . is our vote.

Help keep us alive

Open letter to the readers of the SJRA Advocate

By: Douglas Scott Mickey

The February 2012 issue of the SFRA Advocate contained two Anti-Initiative (SAFE California act) articles.  One was written by Judith Tannenbaum, who used to teach poetry at San Quentin.  The second was written by “Spoon” Jackson, who has apparently spent the last 35 years in California’s Prisons on an LWOP sentence.

Judith Tannenbaum sums up her “open letter to Supporters of the SAFE California Act” with: "Personally, I can’t imagine voting against abolishing the death penalty, and I also can’t imagine voting for an initiative that pretends LWOP is a solution.”

Field Poll: Death penalty proposition support closely divided

By: KABC News

BERKELEY, Calif. (KABC) -- The results of a statewide survey conducted by the Institute of Governmental Studies at University of California-Berkeley and The Field Poll were released Tuesday. The survey sought to determine prospective voting support and opposition to Proposition 34.

California's Proposition 34 initiative would repeal California's death penalty and make life in prison the ultimate penalty for a capital crime. It would go into effect the day after election and apply to all on death row.

More Democrats and independents support Prop. 34, while Republicans tend to oppose the proposition.

Of total likely voters, 42 percent of respondents said they would vote for Prop. 34. Forty-five percent of respondents said they would vote "no" on Prop. 34. Undecided voters made up 13 percent of likely-voter respondents.

Death Row inmates oppose Prop. 34

Credit: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle / SF
By: Bob Egelko

Like other state prisoners, the 725 inmates on California's Death Row can't vote. But if they could, there's evidence that most of them would vote against a November ballot initiative to abolish the death penalty.

It's not that they want to die, attorney Robert Bryan said. They just want to hang on to the possibility of proving that they're innocent, or at least that they were wrongly convicted. That would require state funding for lawyers and investigators - funding that Proposition 34 would eliminate for many Death Row inmates after the first round of appeals.

Living in the Land of "Is and Isn't"

Tales from death row: Justice for Rodney Reed

By: Caitlin Adams

Sometimes in life we find ourselves in a place where we are powerless to change our circumstances, where we are powerless to fix a situation. Two recent experiences that both Rodney and I had are about this place, a place I've named the land of "is and isn't".

My wonderful massage therapist/friend, Jessica, came to work with me recently.  About midway through our work, Jessica had me sit up on the massage table while she did some energy work.  As I was sitting, I had a vision.  In my heart's eye, I saw and felt Rodney walking down my porch. As he approached my door, Jessica looked up at him, and Rodney put his finger to his lips in the "shh" motion.  I had the strongest urge to turn around to look at him; at the same time I knew if I did he wouldn't be there—yet. This was the most delightful déjà vu of a future experience I've ever had!  So, I didn't turn around and Rodney remained there, smiling, watching the entire rest of the massage.

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