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Death penalty a cruel joke

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The second question asked of Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown during their recent debate was how would they speed the death penalty. Brown mumbled something about Chief Justice (Ronald) George having a solution that required hiring more lawyers but the legislature wouldn’t approve it. Whitman talked about speeding the federal appeal process but it was clear she did not know what she was talking about. There are presently no federal regulations to even comply with to speed federal appeals. Efforts to shorten federal appeals have been happening since the 1980s and not a single state has succeeded. Neither candidate has a clue or a plan to fix the California death penalty. Executions will continue to be more rare than lightning-strike fatalities. The greatest hazards to death row inmates will continue to be old age, suicides and prison violence. Death sentences will continue to be a cruel joke on crime victim families. Appeals will continue to take 30-plus years. The state will build a new death row to house 1,000 prisoners at a cost of $1 billion or $1 million for each cell. California will continue to bleed money for lawyers and prison guards to support a completely dysfunctional system. How much is enough? Why don’t we abolish the death penalty? Paul Comiskey, Newcastle