LOS ANGELES (AP) — California’s top judge says the state’s capital punishment system is “not effective” and needs an overhaul that the state cannot afford.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye made her first public comments about the death penalty to the Los Angeles Times in Saturday’s editions. Her comments come as signatures are being collected for a proposed ballot measure to abolish the death penalty.

The Republican appointee and former prosecutor says the state’s death penalty requires “structural change.” She says the state doesn’t have the money to create the kind of change that is needed.

Cantil-Sakauye took over as the state’s top judge in January after serving as trial court judge and appellate jurist since 1990.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (13)
  1. joe says:

    Death penalty is not effective because it takes many many years with endless appeals before a person gets convicted to death. Rarely does a person gets executed because of the extraordinary appeal process the condemned goes through. How can you bring fear to those who are thinking of committing grievous crimes if you give them so much legal accommodation with a chance of getting away with a slap on the wrist.

    Have you seen the death penalty in other countries? In China, they execute 10,000 criminals a year. If you sell drugs and are caught with a certain amount, you will be put to death within 2 years. One dreaded fact about the death penalty in China is you are told that you will be executed 1 to 2 hours before your execution. Your family is allowed to visit you an hour before you are executed. Very inhumane? I agree. But don’t you think it brings great fear to those who are thinking of selling drugs?

    They want an effective death penalty? Then make sure that the legal process is short and the penalty is heavy.

    The accused should be given a chance to prove his/her innocence. But, if they are caught red handed on committing their inhumane crime, don’t you think death penalty should not be delayed by a lengthy legal process?

    1. duh says:

      I am a death penalty advocate, however I need to point out something that you didn’t get within your own post.

      >don’t you think it brings great fear to those who are thinking of selling drugs?

      If China is executing 10k people a year, then the obvious answer is NO. It may bring some fear, but obviously not enough.

      I believe in the death penalty because I believe that the quality of life in prison without the possibility of parole is too low to justify the money necessary to keep that person alive. I do not believe it is a suitable enough deterrent to the crimes that bring it. Anyone thinking of a capital crime has already lost all rationale, and the possible punishment cannot be rationally processed.

      If a prison system could be developed whereby the lifers could be productive in some way, and therefore offset some or all of their upkeep, then I would be in favor of abolishing the death penalty.

  2. B says:

    If it was used more frequently it would certainly be more effective!

  3. George says:

    Another activist judge legislating from the bench.

  4. amelia says:

    ‘Activist judges’ = those whose rulings YOU don’t like.

    1. The Big Logic says:

      I don’t like any activist judges. Most of them are Demoloons, and they are too stupid to be judges.

  5. Denise says:

    Death penalty has never been effective. Overhauling it isn’t going to change that. It is only a form of ineffective vengeance.

  6. hangman says:


    Easy fix, once the person has been found guilty. Walk them out the back door, one bullet and the issue has been overhauled. Simple! No more apeals. Saves a lot of money and time in our justice systems.

    1. 12334 says:

      u r 1 c@@k s@cking idiot, how many death row inmates have been released???
      I wish u the same as the other innocent people, who were framed! Spend 1 day in jail and we will talk about this, U R 1 POS AND SOB

  7. L M Carson says:

    The death penalty is not effective because the justice system is broken, hi-jacked by a bunch of lawyers and a few people who do not believe someone should be punished for committing a crime. Voters have chosen to say that if you take a life violently, you should die. The justice system has chosen to ignore democracy. The elected officials have chosen to side with the lawyers.

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