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FROM THIS EPISODE

There are 723 people on California's Death Row, at a cost of $184 million extra a year.  On the November ballot, voters are likely to be asked to replace capital punishment with life without the possibility of parole. We talk with an unexpected supporter — one of the people who wrote the current death penalty law. Also, "mistakes of the heart and mistakes of the mind." Two standards for cops who shoot when they're not supposed to. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, is it "Stand Your Ground" or "Make My Day?" We hear about laws in Florida and 24 other states.

Banner image: Anti-death penalty campaigners stage a demonstration and march outside the Federal Bulding in Los Angeles on September 28, 2010. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Producers:
Christian Bordal
Sonya Geis
Katie Cooper

Main Topic A Change of Heart on California's Killers 17 MIN, 39 SEC

"The Briggs death penalty law in California simply doesn't work." That's according to Ron Briggs, who wrote the law, along with his father, then State Senator John Briggs, in 1977. It was passed by the voters in 1978. Ron, who's now in his second term as Supervisor of El Dorado County, is endorsing the SAFE California campaign, which would replace the death penalty with life without the possibility of parole. We hear from Briggs and others.

Guests:
Ron Briggs, El Dorado County Board of Supervisors
Paula Mitchell, Reed Smith (@reedsmithllp)
Michael Rushford, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation

Reporter's Notebook LA Police Commission Pressures Chief on Officer Shootings 10 MIN, 40 SEC

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck makes a distinction between "mistakes of the heart and mistakes of the mind." That's from a report in today's LA Times that the Chief and the Police Commission are in disagreement on how to handle four police shootings that killed three people and wounded three more.

Guests:
Joel Rubin, Los Angeles Times (@joelrubin)
Rob Saltzman, Los Angeles Police Commission

Main Topic 'Stand Your Ground' in the Spotlight 23 MIN, 31 SEC

‘Stand Your Ground' in the SpotlightIt used to be that people threatened with violence had a duty to flee, unless they were defending their own homes. Now 25 states have extended the right to "defend the castle" to any place it's legal to be, and anyone who claims to "perceive" a threat has the right to use equal force for protection. Florida adopted the first so-called "stand your ground" law in 2005. The Trayvon Marin case has brought attention to the laws that give people with no law enforcement authority the right to make instant decisions about life or death — with immunity from prosecution. Is that really what the Second Amendment is all about?

Guests:
Elizabeth Megale, Barry University (@BarryUniversity)
David LaBahn, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (@APAinc)
Gerald Vernon, Chicago Firearms Safety Association
Susan Ferriss, Center for Public Integrity (@susanferriss)

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