By Donna Westfall – April 27, 2017 – There are currently 728 men and 21 women on death row. California hasn’t executed anyone in 10 years, but this past November’s election is set to change all that when voters approved Prop 66.
Prop 66 is supposed to speed up the legal process leading to an execution. Take, for example, Douglas Clark, 68 years old. He’s been on death row for over 34 years. Had Prop 66 gone into action right away, this killer of six young women in the LA area in 1980 would now be history. But, the California Supreme Court blocked that measure weeks later, in order to take time to consider a lawsuit challenging it.
Maureen McDermott, 69 year old, hired three men to kill the man she lived with so she could inherit the house and collect on a $100,000 life insurance policy. Time on death row, over 26 years.
Other death row inmates consist of 40 cop killers, 14 that have exhausted their appeals, 15 between the ages of 20-29; by race… almost 300 blacks, over 250 whites, less than 200 hispanics and more men than women. Proposition 66 was designed to shorten the time that legal challenges to death sentences take to a maximum of five years. It narrowly passed by 51.13%. Now it’s at the California Supreme Court. A ruling is expected in August 2017.
Per Ballotpedia, “Proposition 66 was designed to put trial courts in charge of initial petitions, known as habeas corpus petitions, challenging death penalty convictions. The measure mandated that the judge who handled the original murder case hear the habeas corpus petition, unless good cause can be shown for another judge or court. It allowed petitions to be appealed to California Courts of Appeal and then finally to the California Supreme Court. The measure required the habeas corpus petition process and appeals to be completed within five years after the death sentence. Proposition 66 changed the qualifications required to represent convicted inmates in order to “ensure competent representation” and “expand the number of attorneys.” It replaced the Supreme Court with trial courts as the judicial body that appoints attorneys for habeas corpus petitions. Inmates on death row would be required to work, subject to state regulations, and provide wages as restitution owed to the inmate’s victims under Proposition 66. The measure mandated that the portion of wages to be provided as restitution would be 70 percent or the restitution fine, whichever is less. It authorized the state to house death row inmates in any prison, rather than the one death row prison for men and one death row prison for women.“
It’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not the California Supreme Court will accept the vote of the people.