Voices from California's Death Row


Anonymous by request:

1.      No, I would not like to see “The Justice That Works Act” passed as it is written. I find some of its provisions to be unacceptable, and question if some of them may not actually be illegal.  But see my reply to question #5 from your survey.

2.      I would find replacement of the Death Penalty with LWOP under the Justice that Works Act as it is written, to be unacceptable for a number of reasons. And even if the “Act” were to be rewritten to remove the objectionable provisions, it almost undoubtedly will result in at least some suicides due to a loss of hope and the fact that those who are wrongly convicted would then presumable no longer even be provided with an attorney to challenge their wrongful conviction, among other things.

3.      I question if requiring those of us already on death row to work would even be legal, or if that would (should!) be considered to be an illegal “ex post facto punishment”, considering that we weren’t sentence to work at our trials and original sentencing. And I, as well as other I have spoken with, would likely simply refuse to work, with or even without a restitution requirement.

4.      As for your question #4, is that even properly stated? Your question #4 indicates “that all those with LWOP sentences would have to pay 60% of their wages earned toward restitution if they have restitution orders in their case,” but he Justice that Works Act, as written, (see #6 on the proposed law summary) would require “all” those sentenced to LWOP to work and to pay 60% of their wages to compensate their victims for the damage they have caused – apparently whether they have a pre-existing restitution order or not. So which is correct? If the proposed law summary is correct, then there will likely be quite a few more of us already here on death row who will simply refuse to work. Which will result in not only the loss of all that labor (which guards or outside contractors will then have to do – at much higher wages but also in the additional costs and expenses for staff, etc that will be incurred by the prisons for then housing us in disciplinary or other lock-up housing units, rather than on the mainline.

5.      Yes, if both of the initiative son the ballot are likely going to pass, then I would hope that the “Justice that Works Act is the one that gets the most votes and goes into effect (where its unacceptable provisions could presumably ten be challenged in the courts.) So with that possibility in mind, I would suggest that people should vote for the Justice that Works Act, as the lesser evil of the two available options.

6.      A significant problem with Justice that Works Act, as I see it, is that the LWOP sentence doesn’t’ provide for any attorney to challenge one’s wrongful conviction and that it will thus result in those wrongly convicted dying in prison under a LWOP sentence simply because they aren’t able to hire/pay for an attorney to challenge their wrongful conviction, as is now provided for death row prisoners who were wrongly convicted. So instead of wrongly executing an innocent person, that individual will simply die in prison, and even slower and more inhuman Death Penalty, because they can’t afford to hire an attorney to challenge their wrongful conviction.