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Republican-nominated Calif. Supreme Court Chief Justice declares that state’s death penalty ‘not effective’

Calif. Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye

Calif. Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye

From the Los Angeles Times’sCalifornia chief justice urges reevaluating death penalty“:

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who heads the state’s judicial branch and its highest court, said in an interview that the death penalty is no longer effective in California and suggested she would welcome a public debate on its merits and costs…

“I don’t think it is working,” said Cantil-Sakauye, elevated from the Court of Appeal in Sacramento to the California Supreme Court by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “It’s not effective. We know that.”

California’s death penalty requires “structural change, and we don’t have the money to create the kind of change that is needed,” she said. “Everyone is laboring under a staggering load.”

In response to a question, she said she supported capital punishment “only in the sense I apply the law and I believe the system is fair…. In that sense, yes.”

But the chief justice quickly reframed the question.

“I don’t know if the question is whether you believe in it anymore. I think the greater question is its effectiveness and given the choices we face in California, should we have a merit-based discussion on its effectiveness and costs?”

Last month two former Kentucky Supreme Court justices made similar statements about our state’s broken death penalty.

Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia

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