Voices from California's Death Row


1.      I think it would be a good idea for the voters to pass “the Justice that Works Act”. Not because it is good for us here on the row but because it is in the best interest of the people of California. Soon after I got your letter I got out my 2011 “The World Almanac” it has lots of facts in it. So I looked up the murder rates of each state in the USA. So I asked myself what do the ten lowest murder rates states have in common. I found that 6 of those states have no death penalty, not only that for the ten states the total number of executions since 1977 was just 9 people. Those states had murder rates range from 0.8 to 2.2 per 100,000 people. I then looked for the ten states with the highest murder rates and found that all but one state had the death penalty, then added up the number of people executed in those states and fund that 279 people were executed and yet the range of their murder rate was 11.8 to 6.2 per 100,000 people. I think that most people would think that the opposite would be true as the people “tough on crime” would have them believe that the death penalty lowers the murder rate, but the facts speak for themselves. Here in California the average cost per person executed is about $308 million per execution That is a lot of money that could and would be put to better use such as fixing pot holes in the streets, or more books for the school kids. I think if the public was aware of this they would see they are just wasting a lot of money to keep trying to use the death penalty.

2.      I am not a fan of LWOP because in a sense it to is a death penalty just a bit slower and less costly to the general public. I see guys here I know for sure that if they got out they would never cause trouble again nor commit another crime. As I know that juries do make mistakes, and the appeal process is not foolproof.

3.      While I do believe most could and should work it is not possible for all to be able to work. What about the guy who is 80 or more years old?

4.      That adage the less you make the more you get taxed seems to be in full view here. Imagine making 3.2 cents an hour and that would be what some would end up making. Even top pay of 22.4 cents an hour doesn’t sound tempting to a lot of people.

5.      The joke about speeding up the death penalty is that they are not increasing the attorney fees. Just because there is a law saying we want more attorneys working on death penalty isn’t going to add one more attorney taking up death penalty cases. The other thing they don’t say is how much extra time the California Supreme Court is going to have to spend then even more time on death penalty cases, I hear up to 70% of their time will go to that if they follow the law. Meaning lots of people will not have any chance of getting their important case before the California Supreme Court. Lastly no state law will affect the federal courts and the length of time they take. In my cases I have been in federal court for about 18 years and I doubt I’ll be done in the next ten years. So it is going to be slow no matter what is tried to speed things up.


In the last elections when the death penalty was up for a vote the people who ran the ads made the ads for people who were already going to vote to end the death penalty. I hope this time you make yours ads to those t those who are on the fence about the death penalty. My guess is that 40% of the votes would always vote to end the death penalty, and then there are 40% wo would vote for the death penalty no matter the cost or any other reason. So you have about 20% who could vote either way. So I hope you tell them how badly they speed up bill is, and that the death penalty has no effect on the murder rate, but it still cost a lot and so it is a waste of their money. While my facts maybe a bit dated and a more up to date list would be better. I am sure that it would show the same trend. So please make your ads and information important to those who might vote either way. I will include the list that I made from reading my Almanac. 

 Lowest murder rates  Executed   


New Hampshire  0.8    Y         0    

Vermont              1.1     N        0  

 Iowa                     1.1     N        0  

Utah                     1.3     Y         6    

Minnesota           1.4     N        0     

Idaho                    1.4     Y         1     

North Dakota      1.5     N        0      

Hawaii                   1.7    N        0      

Maine                    2.0    N        0      

Oregon                 2.2     Y         2 

          Total                                9                                                    


Highest murder rates        Executed

Louisiana            11.8          Y       27

       New Mexico       8.7            Y         1

       Maryland            7.7            Y         5

Tennessee         7.3                Y         4

Alabama             6.9                Y        38

Mississippi         6.4                Y         10

Missouri              6.4               Y         66

Michigan             6.3               N         0

South Carolina   6.3                Y       40

       Oklahoma           6.2                Y       88


                  Total                               279

From William (last name withheld by request)