Vote NO on Prop 34

Polly Klaas’ killer is on death row

Proposition 34 repeals the death penalty as maximum punishment for persons convicted of 1st degree murder with special circumstances and replace it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. It applies retroactively to individuals already sentenced to death.

Michael Lyons’ killer is on death row

Plenty of studies have demonstrated the deterrent effect of the death penalty. Even common sense will help you to understand the difference between crime and consequence. If you have an extreme consequence or punishment for a particular crime then you are less likely to find someone moving in that direction. Statistics show that when executions are up in a given year, first degree murder goes down the following year.

Lacy & Connor Peterson’s killer is on death row

The death penalty is a powerful negotiating tool. There is a character named John Gardner. He murdered two girls in San Diego a couple of years ago. The first victim was a 14-year-old named Amber Dubois who disappeared while walking to school. The second victim was Chelsea King, a high school junior who was murdered while she was out on a run. Gardner was arrested for the murder of Chelsea King and told that he would face the death penalty. He then told the authorities that if they took the death penalty off of the table he would divulge the whereabouts of Amber Dubois. I can assure you that Amber’s remains never would have been located otherwise. This is an instance where the death penalty was used as a tool to bring finality to the family of a missing child and a community gripped by the thought of a homicidal predator in their midst.

Teresa Del Rio’s killer is on death row

Under Prop 34, persons found guilty of 1st degree murder must work while in prison with their wages subject to deductions applied to victim restitution. Prop 34 proponents say that expenses related to murder trials, death penalty appeals and corrections could result in about $100-million annual savings. The whole idea that they are going to save all of this money by integrating death row inmates into the general population and putting them to work is preposterous.

Terri Winchell’s killer is on death row

First of all, it is already the law that prisoners are supposed to work and pay victim restitution. But the idea that you are going to give the Nightstalker, or Ramon Salcido a wrench or screwdriver would send chills down the spine of the most hardened criminal. To suggest that these killing machines will integrate into the general population is absurd. No prisoner will want to share a cell, let alone a cell block, with a cop killer, baby killer, serial killer or mass murderer. They and the prison guards will be at great risk under these circumstances. Death row inmates live in single cells now and they will remain in segregated, single cells in Prop 34 passes because they are an extremely violent and dangerous population.

Deputy Sheriff Tony Diaz’ killer is on death row

Proponents say that the death penalty is broken beyond repair, but it is not. If Governor Brown signed an executive order allowing for a one drug protocol as Ohio, Washington and 5-other states have done we can begin executing the 30-death row inmates who have run out their appeals tomorrow. Currently only 100 lawyers out of a population of 171,000 practicing lawyers on California are qualified to handle the direct death penalty appeal. We can clear this backlog by training more lawyers to handle this procedure. Currently, the direct death penalty appeal must be heard by the 7-member California Supreme Court. If we divert that process to the 107-member California Court of Appeals, then we can remove that burden and speed up the process. If we limit frivolous Habeas Corpus appeals we can further streamline the process. If it’s broken, mend it, don’t end it.

Mei Leung’s killer is on death row

Supposedly, evidence shows that more than 100 innocent people have been sentenced to death in the United States, and some have been executed. Proponents say that if Prop 34 passes we will never execute an innocent person. Guess what, we haven’t executed an innocent person. In fact, Governor Brown, who has a history of opposing the death penalty, says that he is sure that there are no innocent people on California’s death row. Many of the so-called innocent that have been exonerated have been removed from death row for administrative rather than evidentiary reasons. There is no proof that an innocent person has been executed in the United States. That is simply a myth perpetuated by liberal media and death row apologists.

Cheri Domingo &Gregory Sanchez’ killer is on death row

Let’s not send a message that it doesn’t matter how heinous your behavior, how many victims you pile up or how many cops you execute, you will not be executed. Join me in voting NO on Proposition 34 on Election Day.

 

Death Penalty Case Study: Kevin Cooper

Death Row Inmate Kevin Cooper

As California voters decide whether to side with the ACLU and other liberal special interests to get rid of the death penalty, the No on 34 campaign continues its profiles of the “worst of the worst” convicted murderers on death row. Here is another killer who would be spared if Proposition 34 passes in November.

 

In June 1983, Kevin Cooper escaped from a minimum security prison in Chino, CA. After hiding in an empty house, he attacked the Ryen family next door, killing Doug and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter Jessica and 11-year-old family friend Chris Hughes. 8-year-old Joshua Ryen survived.

 

The victims had died from numerous chopping wounds later determined to have been inflicted by a hatchet or axe and stab wounds inflicted by both a knife and an ice pick. Cooper was arrested on a boat near Santa Barbara two days later. In 1985 he was sentenced to death for the murders.

Death Penalty Case Study: Spencer Brasure

Torture Killer Spencer Rawlin Brasure

As California voters decide whether to side with the ACLU and other liberal special interests to get rid of the death penalty, the No on 34 campaign continues its profiles of the “worst of the worst” convicted murderers on death row. Here is another killer who would be spared if Proposition 34 passes in November.

 

In August 1998, Spencer Rawlin Brasure was convicted and sentenced to death for brutally torturing and killing a Redondo Beach man on Sept. 7, 1996. Brasure and his accomplice kidnapped 20-year-old Anthony Guest, tied him up, burned him with a propane torch, stapled wood to his head, forced him to eat broken glass, and shocked him repeatedly with a cattle prod before setting him on fire and leaving him to die in a remote Ventura County campsite near Gorman.

 

The coroner’s office testified that it took the victim several hours to die in agony. The judge described the murder as “savage, barbarous, merciless and cruel.”  Evidence at trial also showed that Brasure had tried to have several witnesses in the case killed.

 

While sitting on death row at San Quentin State Prison, Brasure has found time to campaign against the death penalty. In 2011, he wrote a blog from prison complaining that he is a victim of a “political agenda”.

Realignment Continues to Drive up Crime in California (Part 1)

Perceptions of crime are changing in California. The very real threats that we experienced leading up to the mid 1990’s have been replaced by complacency in the early 2010’s. Society seems to have forgotten that the threat of crime diminishes our social structure, creates fear in our neighborhoods, leaves victims of property crimes feeling vulnerable and victims of violence broken or dead. That, and concerns about runaway budgets, financial mismanagement, and the role of government have created a climate in which our elected leaders believe, and people support, the notion that it is better to release criminals back into society rather than the build the prisons necessary to house convicted criminals.

 

On November 6, California voters will choose whether or not to modify California’s Three-Strikes-and-You’re Out law when we vote on Proposition 36. Thousands of three-strike prisoners, individuals who have at least two prior serious or violent felony convictions on their rap-sheet may be eligible for re-sentencing hearings that can put them back onto our streets.

 

If passed in November, Proposition 34 will retroactively overturn California’s death penalty in favor of a sentence of life without the possibility of parole (LWOP). Prop 34 proponents say that this will guarantee, among other things, that remorseless baby killers, cop killers, serial killers, and mass murderers will die in prison. What they fail to mention is that on September 30, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 9, which can overturn LWOP sentences for 309 remorseless killers currently housed in our prison system.

 

October represents the one-year anniversary of Assembly Bill 109, Governor Brown’s Prison Realignment Program. Realignment is supposedly the most benign of the measures being promoted in the current trend towards prison reform, because under Realignment, inmates who are classified as non-serious, non-violent, and non-sexual offenders are sent to local jails instead of California state prisons or put under community supervision. However, these Post-Release Community Supervision inmates (PRCS) could have prior convictions for murder or sexual offenses as long as their most recent conviction was for a non-serious, non-violent, and non-sexual crime.

 

The Sacramento-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation has been tracking the impact of Governor Brown’s Realignment Law (AB109) since it took effect in October 2011. Here are some of their findings.

 

According to the minutes of a recent Los Angeles county meeting on Realignment, “Thus far, over 7000 inmates released. 4227 (about half of those released) have been screened. Of the 4227, 2692 showed at the assessment center for a full AOD assessment (63.6%). Of those assessed, 1176 (43.7%) were referred to treatment and of those 545 (46.3%) have shown to treatment. So, looking at the overall numbers, of the more than 7000 released, 545 have entered treatment for AOD (less than 8%).” This means that less than half of the offenders referred to programs are even showing up.

 

LAPD Sgt. Jeff Nuttall states, “Some of the people who are on this program are absolutely dangerous career criminals.”

 

In San Francisco, there are 306 inmates who were released under PRCS. On average, each of them has been previously convicted of eight felonies, and more than half convicted of violent, sexual, or weapons-related offenses. San Francisco Adult Probation Chief Stills said, “the population is high-risk with high needs.”

 

In fact, one prisoner who was segregated in a secure housing unit in Pelican Bay, where the state’s worst criminals are incarcerated, was put on probation through California’s Realignment.

 

Carl Landry, a San Bernardino Probation Department supervisor, said that there is an increased number of high-level or leading gang members which have been released as a result of AB109.

 

In Lancaster, more than 300 offenders were released under partial supervision to Los Angeles probation officers since Realignment began. Nearly 200 of these offenders have been rearrested for new crimes or charges.

 

From October 2011 to July 2012, 3054 offenders were released into PRCS in San Bernardino. Of that number, 606 of them have been rearrested for new offenses, consisting of 489 felonies and 117 misdemeanors. Another 5 percent were re-incarcerated for technical probation violations.

 

Hesperia Capt. Steve Higgins said, “Of the 88 burglaries committed since 2011,…49 of them were committed by four people — two of whom were PRCS probationers. And of those 49, he said nearly 30 burglaries can be linked back to one PRCS probationer.”

 

 

Sex Offender Scott Herman

Scott Herman, a sex offender from Santa Rosa, violated the terms of his parole within two weeks of being released under AB109. He was found by his parole officer following young girls around and behaving suggestively in a Walmart. He has been convicted of indecent exposure and molesting children six times (including parole violations) since 1996. Rather than serving his full one-year sentence in a California prison, he served only two and a half months in the Sonoma County Jail.

Death Penalty Case Study: John Ghobrial

Child Killer John Ghobrial

As California voters decide whether to side with the ACLU and other liberal special interests to get rid of the death penalty, the No on 34 campaign continues its profiles of the “worst of the worst” convicted murderers on death row. Here is another killer who would be spared if Proposition 34 passes in November.

 

John Ghobrial lured 12-year-old Juan Delgado, a La Habra sixth grade student, to his death in 1998. After befriending the boy, he killed him in a backyard shed, then tried to cover up the crime by dismembering the body with a meat cleaver. He then encased the body parts in blocks of concrete that were scattered about the neighborhood. The shed was later found to contain pornographic magazines along with bags of cement.

 

Ghobrial was accused of molesting a relative before emigrating from Egypt. He was convicted and sentenced to the death penalty in 2002.

 

Words Left Unspoken

Professor Lawrence C. Marshall

On Sunday afternoon, October 14, I participated in a public forum at Santa Rosa’s Shomrei Torah Synagogue. The focus was on two propositions that will appear on California’s November ballot. Proposition 34, if passed, will replace California’s death penalty with a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Proposition 36 would amend the Three Strikes and You’re Out law by requiring that the third strike is a serious or violent felony.

 

I was invited to support No on Prop 36, as I believe that the Three Strikes and You’re Out law should not be amended. Defense attorney and ACLU of Northern California board member Steve Fabian represented Yes on Prop 36. Kent Scheidegger, Legal Director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation argued against Prop 34. The argument to overturn the death penalty was represented by Stanford University Professor and legal clinic Director Lawrence C. Marshall. Congregation Shomrei Torah Rabbi George Gittleman concluded the program with reflections on the death penalty in Judaism.

 

Overall it was an educational and informative forum that was well attended by an enthusiastic audience. However, the incident that stood out the most was not witnessed by the audience as it occurred after the forum was concluded.

 

Throughout the years I have witnessed numerous interactions between crime victims and those who advocate on behalf of death row inmates. These criminal apologists make impassioned, and often times very compelling arguments on behalf of remorseless killers or other serious and violent criminals; yet they fail to look me in the eye, rarely shake my hand and never reference the circumstances that have brought me to the podium.

 

Proposition 36 was presented first. Mr. Fabian made his case for ten minutes and then I made mine. We were each given a five minute rebuttal and then took questions from the audience. Both sides were given equal weight and I hope that I changed some minds toward my position.

 

The same format was followed by the Prop 34 discussion. In his opening statement, with obvious emotion and in the throes of passion Professor Marshall said that life sentences give society “every bit of protection” it could ask for without risking “the cost of executing innocent people.”  This despite the fact that Governor Brown just signed Senate Bill 9, which can overturn prison sentences of life without parole for 309 convicted killers. He also seems unaware that Governor Brown, a death penalty opponent, recently said that, “There are no innocent inmates on California’s death row”. At one point in his opening, Professor Marshall even referenced my commentary that, “You can’t blame 3-strikes for racial disparities, because they exist throughout the criminal justice system.”

 

I don’t want to minimize Mr. Scheidegger’s opposition to Prop 34 because it was eloquent, strong, and based upon facts, but this about things that weren’t said, not things that were said.

 

During his rebuttal Professor Marshall made an impassioned plea for death row inmates when he said, “They are us, they’re our children. We are a community.” He obviously felt very differently about me because, although he was sitting a mere three feet away from me he didn’t look me in the eye, didn’t shake my hand and didn’t acknowledge the loss of my child at the hands of one of “his” children. In fact, as soon as the Rabbi had finished his remarks at the end of the program Professor Marshall bolted to the back of the room in what seemed to me a desperate attempt to avoid meeting me.

 

I know that death penalty opponents don’t like people like me. I remind them of the heinous nature of their constituency: cop killers, baby killers, serial killers, and mass murderers. I represent a truth that they would rather deny. After all, how can somebody evoke the humanity and brotherhood of a blood thirsty psychopath when the fruit of their murderous intent is sitting but a few feet away?

 

If Professor Marshall has empathy then it is misplaced.  How can he advocate society’s inhumanity to death row inmates without first acknowledging the impact of the heinous crimes that death row inmates commit, and the impact upon families, friends, and the community at large?

 

Personally, I believe that his gesture at the Temple speaks more to Prop 34 and Prop 36 than any of the formal presentations. Too bad nobody noticed it but me.

Death Penalty Case Study: Charles Ng

Serial Killer Charles NG

Charles Ng is one of California’s most notorious serial killers. After being thrown out of the Marines for theft, Ng partnered with Leonard Lake in an extended plot of kidnap, rape, torture and murder. The crimes took place at Lake’s remote cabin in Calaveras County. The crimes came to light in 1985. Investigators later recovered the bodies of seven men, three women, two baby boys, and 45 pounds of bone fragments from the site. Investigators also found, in a bunker, a large cache of weapons and videotapes that Ng had made of some of the murders.

 

Lake committed suicide as police closed in. Ng fled to Canada but was extradited and convicted in 1999 of multiple counts of murder.

 

On November 6, please vote no on Prop 34 if you live in California.

Vote NO on Prop 34: Judge Changes False and Misleading Statements by Prop 34 Proponents

California killers Clarence Ray Allen, Richard Allen Davis, Richard Ramirez, Scott Peterson

Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully, a statewide Co-Chair of Californians for Justice and Public Safety – No on 34 – today issued the following statement following the decision by Sacramento Superior Court Justice Timothy Frawley to change false and misleading statements made by Proposition 34 proponents in official ballot arguments as part of their campaign to eliminate California’s death penalty.  Nearly every major public safety organization in the state opposes Prop 34 because it will embolden criminals and endanger California.

 

“We appreciate Judge Frawley’s thoughtful decision, which upholds our position that the Proponents of Prop 34 are waging a deceptive campaign in an effort to eliminate the Death Penalty.

 

Convincing a Judge to change ballot statements is an extraordinary action.  Judge Frawley agreed with us that Prop 34 proponents’ attempt to suggest that the measure’s $100 million appropriation was a result of alleged savings is false.  He rightly acknowledged that, if Prop 34 passes, $100 million will be taken from the State General fund, regardless of whether or not any money is actually saved. There were other assertions by the proponents in their ballot arguments that the judge labeled as ‘hyperbole” or “opinion’.  Translation – their assertions are exaggerated claims or opinions.

 

California voters deserve better. Consumers must get accurate and honest disclosure of what is contained in the products they buy, or District Attorneys can prosecute the manufacturers for consumer fraud.   Said another way, they can be prosecuted for false advertising and unfair business practices.

 

Sadly, there are no standards for honesty and accuracy for special interests and political campaigns.   If we did, Prop 34 proponents and those who have long sought to eliminate the death penalty wouldn’t get to use hyperbole or be allowed to mislead by exaggeration.  It should be noted that Prop 34 supporters did not challenge a single statement by our side.  That’s because we stick to the facts and respect voters who have consistently and overwhelmingly affirmed the Death Penalty as a just sentence in cases where a murder has been committed with special and horrific circumstances. Never, in the arguments made by those who support repealing the death penalty do you hear them talk about the victims of the killers they seek to save.

 

Well that stops today. Of course the murdered victims cannot speak, but there are victims who can.  They are the families of murdered victims that lost a loved one at the hands of a cold-blooded killer.  Our campaign will give them a voice to speak out about public safety. And that’s what is important…public safety.  Justice…the right of Californians to live in a safe community.  Today is the first defeat for the Proposition 34 campaign.  The next one will be on Election Day, when voters reject the hyperbole and opinion and stand up for California by voting No on 34.”