California Capital Punishment: Death, Where Is Thy Sting?
It wouldn’t be an election year in the Golden State without at least one law-and-order candidate bemoaning the fact that “old age is the leading cause of death on California’s death row.”
Among the highlights:
— California added five more inmates to its death row this year, pushing its condemned population past 700 inmates. Florida is second, with 394 inmates on death row; Texas, in third, has 333.
— It’s now four full years since California’s last execution — Clarence Ray Allen, on Jan. 17, 2006.
— Allen’s execution was only the 13th in California in the nearly 25 years since the death penalty was allowed to resume.
— There are have been more suicides on California’s death row than executions.
The AP story also includes a poster boy for California’s penal absurdity: convicted killer and white supremacist Billy Joe Johnston.
Last year, Johnson fought for a lethal-injection sentence and not life behind bars at Pelican Bay State Prison. Why? Johnson liked the idea of a larger cell he’d have entirely to himself, access to television, and the delay in meting out his punishment.
Any chance of this becoming a campaign issues, or is California too embroiled in its financial woes to take notice of this mess?