Yes on 62, no on 66: Abolish the death penalty

Kristine Wong/Staff

When two death-penalty ballot propositions appear in the November election, it illustrates that the system needs to change. And the fact that the state has put 12 people to death in the past 20 years proves this true.

But speeding up this inhumane, reductive practice — as Proposition 66 asks — is not the right solution.

Instead, voters should approve Proposition 62 and abolish the death penalty.

When juries must decide the fate of their peers’ lives, succumbing to internalized racial and gendered biases poses a huge problem — and that manifests when Black criminals are far likelier to be sentenced to death than white criminals convicted of the same crimes.

As it works now, inmates on death row spend their lives tied up in expensive legal battles as they live from appeal to appeal, bogging down courts and living on the edge. Proposition 66 would fix this problem by creating stricter deadlines for appeals — making them more difficult — and changing the appeals process.

But speeding up an often unjust process is the wrong answer, especially when exoneration of death-row inmates abounds.

Society should strive toward more justice, always, and speeding up a barbaric practice that is routinely misused won’t do that.

Vote yes on Proposition 62 and no on 66 — for a California that respects itself enough to stop its participation in state-sanctioned murder.

Endorsements represent the majority opinion of the Senior Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.