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Jerry Brown
How an innocent person can end up on death row

To the editor: George Skelton is correct that California's death penalty system results in the state "senselessly pouring money down a rathole." However, his defense of the merits of capital punishment is misleading. ("Scrap California's dysfunctional death penalty policy," Column, July 26) He writes that accused murderers, "once proved guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt," should be killed quickly. No courtroom in California ever requires the government to prove a defendant's guilt "beyond a shadow of a doubt." Jurors are explicitly instructed by the judge that, according to the law, "the evidence need not eliminate all possible...

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