Governor Schwarzenegger has signed a package of new laws cracking down on sex offenders in California. Prop 83 would crack down even more. Would it make children safer? What would it cost? We hear the pros and cons. Plus, an update on the raging Day Fire, and can the death penalty cause pain and still be humane?
FROM THIS EPISODE
More than 4000 firefighters are eating and sleeping in tent cities as they try to control one of the biggest and longest-burning brush fires in California history. The Day Fire, in Ventura County's Los Padres National Forest, has been burning since Labor Day. More than 159,000 acres have been charred and 18 structures destroyed. There've been no deaths or injuries, but the cost of fighting the fire is $53 million and it's still only 43% contained.
Patric Hedlund, Managing Editor of The Mountain Enterprise
There are 90,000 registered sex offenders in California, and current law says they can't live near schools while they're on parole. If they're high risk, they have to be monitored with electronic devices. The most dangerous can be committed to mental hospitals after serving their prison terms. Governor Schwarzenegger has signed a package of new laws cracking down on such sex offenders. Proposition 83 on November's ballot would be even tougher--so tough it could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. It would increase penalties and provide for longer paroles. Past offenders could never live within 2000 feet of a school or a park and they'd be electronically monitored for the rest of their lives. Supporters say it will make children safer. Opponents contend it won't protect them from the most likely offenders of all: people they know and trust. We hear the pros and cons.
In San Jose yesterday, an anesthesiologist from Columbia Medical School said convicts executed by lethal injection in California may have been conscious and suffered excruciating pain. Today is the third day of hearings into whether the death penalty, as administered in this state, is "cruel and unusual punishment" prohibited by the US Constitution.
Ellen Kreitzberg, Professor of Law at Santa Clara University
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