Debating the Death Penalty and Three Strikes
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Crime in California is at an historic low. Financial shortages threaten public schools and other vital services. State prisons are so overcrowded that federal courts have ordered inmates to be released. Two measures on next month's ballot are designed to ease the financial burdens on the justice system and resolve moral issues that trouble some people as well. Proposition 36 would ease the impact of Three Strikes and You're Out. Prop 34 would repeal the death penalty. Opponents are as passionate as supporters. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, targeted killings, unmanned drones and militarizing the CIA.
NOTE: You can see all our political coverage, including explainers of all 11 propositions, at KCRW.com/californiaelections
Banner image: Cell in Alcatraz. Photo by Christian Mehlführer
Prop. 36: Changes to the 'Three Strikes' Law ()
In 1994, Californians cracked down on so-called "career criminals" by passing a law called Three Strikes and You're Out. If a defendant has prior convictions for two "serious" or "violent" crimes, it provides that any third felony conviction will mean a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Proposition 36 on next month's ballot would change that. Michael Romano, director of the Three Strikes Project at Stanford University, is co-author of Prop 36. Mike Reynolds is a portrait photographer in Fresno, who wrote the original law after his 18-year-old daughter was murdered by two repeat offenders. He's opposed to Prop 36.
Prop. 34: The End of the Death Penalty Initiative ()
After the State Supreme Court had declared California's death penalty unconstitutional, it was reinstated by the voters who passed Proposition 7 in 1978. Since then, 900 people have been sentenced to death, with 14 actually executed. Proposition 34 on next month's ballot would eliminate capital punishment once again. The 725 inmates currently on death row would be re-sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. One hundred million dollars in state grants would go to local law enforcement agencies over the next four years. Gil Garcetti, former District Attorney of Los Angels County, is a supporter of Prop 34. McGregor Scott, former District Attorney of Shasta County and former US Attorney for the Eastern District of California, is co-chair of the No on 34 campaign.
Targeted Killings, Drones and the Role of the CIA ()
Targeted killing of terrorist leaders was controversial when President Bush adopted the practice in the aftermath of September 11. With almost no public discussion, President Obama has expanded the practice, using unmanned drones. It's a cheap way to get rid of terrorist leaders, but mistakes and civilian casualties can be costly in more ways than one. We look at how the policy has developed and how it could change the role of the Central Intelligence Agency.
- Greg Miller: Washington Post, @gregpmiller
- Naureen Shah: Columbia Law School, @naureenshah
- Max Boot: Council on Foreign Relations, @MaxBoot
Which Way L.A.? is made possible in part by the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation.
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