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Opinion

Readers React: California’s death penalty is a joke. Just get rid of it

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A handcuffed California death row inmate at San Quentin State Prison.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I have no problem with the concept of the death penalty for certain crimes. But — and this is the real problem — I cannot accept the way it is administered in California. (“Poll finds Californians support the death penalty — and Newsom’s moratorium on executions,” June 17)

First, we already have more than 700 people on death row. Second, California has not executed anyone in 13 years. If we suddenly started executing one prisoner per week, it would take more than 14 years to clear out death row.

California having the death penalty is like selling real estate on the moon — it may sound feasible, but in reality it is a joke. The cost of incarcerating a prisoner on death row is expensive relative to what we spend on a life-term inmate.

While it may be politically expedient for an elected official to support the concept of the death penalty, in reality it is absurd to ignore the way it is (or isn’t) administered in California.

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Bill Schoettler, Bass Lake, Calif.

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