Thursday, November 17, 2005


California State Assemblyman Mark Leno wrote an op-ed article in the San Francisco Chronicle calling for a moratorium on executions: "San Quentin's execution chamber is gearing up for primetime. Barring any gubernatorial pardons or last-minute reprieves, lethal injections could begin as early as Dec. 13. That's the date chosen for the execution of 51-year-old Stanley "Tookie" Williams, founder of the Crips street gang and Nobel Peace Prize nominee for his redemptive efforts to steer kids away from violence. He maintains his innocence in four 1979 gun deaths...

"It's fair to ask whether the death penalty helps at all, given the growing evidence that it is applied unfairly and fails to deter crime. In fact, states without the death penalty have a lower rate of homicide than states with capital punishment, according to a New York Times survey from 2002. Additionally, capital cases cost millions more than keeping a killer in prison for life without the possibility of parole. So for now, let's hold off on executions and let the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice do its work. If we don't, California could be the next state apologizing for making the ultimate mistake. Assemblyman Mark Leno represents the eastern half of San Francisco in the California Legislature.

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