After reading the story in the Los Angeles Times about Meg Whitman, candidate for California governor, making statements that she will only appoint judges who support the death penalty, I must approve of this decision. This affects me personally as a very close loved one is involved in law enforcement, in uniform, in Los Angeles and I am of the opinion that the death penalty is something that may prevent the death of law enforcement officers as it may give criminals final pause before taking the life of an officer or a member of the general public.
The article says Whitman is trailing in the polls currently, even after spending more than $140 million of her own money on her own campaign. In a recent campaign appearance outside Los Angeles in Westlake Village, California, Whitman discussed her plans and support of the death penalty and judges who feel the same way.
As the article reports, Whitman has been reminding voters that Jerry Brown, who was already governor in the 1970’s, appointed a judge named Rose Bird to the California Supreme Court where she voted 64 times to overturn capital cases. These were major death penalty cases where a judge or jury had found a defendant guilty and sentenced him to death, cases which were already automatically appealed to protect the innocent from being wrongly convicted or executed. These decisions caused an uproar in California and Bird was voted out of office and became the symbol of being soft on crime. Brown has never said if he regretted the appointment of Bird, but Jerry Brown has supported the death penalty in various cases under his current position as California’s attorney general.
Getting back to how this election issue affects me personally, my loved one who is in law enforcement constantly tells me its a daily war against the criminal element and I’m of the opinion the death penalty does prevent or deter criminals. Even criminals know, or least should know, if you kill a cop, you will get the death penalty. She has told me of discussions and conversations she has had with criminals, who told her the potential of the death penalty does make a difference in their crimes and willingness to kill another person, whether another criminal or victim. She tells me some of these criminals are victims of their circumstances, suffering child abuse and neglect from birth, never having a chance for an education or a future. Life is a struggle every day, and the thought of the worst thing possible happening as a penalty, life in prison, not death, is not a deterrent. Prison offers 3 meals a day, a bed to sleep in, something some of these people never get to experience as free people. These thoughts really do remain in the back of their minds, even as they commit crimes. Knowing death is not a consequence to their actions really can lead to more brutal results.
As the California election nears, I know this important issue will play a key role in voter choices and whether the next governor will be Meg Whitman or Jerry Brown and I encourage other voters to thoroughly research the topic and both candidates stances on the issue, then go out and make your vote count.
Seema Mehta “Whitman will appoint only judges who support the death penalty” Los Angeles Times via latimes.com