Election 2012: A Guide to the Propositions (Part 2)
Below is your second installment of the Proposition summaries. Remember that you can access the full details here: http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/pdf/.
Proposition 34: Death Penalty. Initiative Statute.
- Repeals death penalty as maximum punishment for persons found guilty of murder and replaces it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
- Applies retroactively to persons already sentenced to death.
- States that persons found guilty of murder must work while in prison as prescribed by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, with their wages subject to deductions to be applied to any victim restitution fines or orders against them.
- Directs $100 million to law enforcement agencies for investigations of homicide and rape cases.
- Opponents claim that Prop. 34 “punishes families of those who suffered horrific deaths by condemned killers.” They also claim that Prop. 34 will cost taxpayers more money by granting inmates “lifetime housing and healthcare benefits,” and that Jerry Brown has determined that there are no innocent inmates on California’s death row.
- Supporters contend that Prop. 34 not only prevents the execution of innocent people but also saves millions of dollars a year because life sentences cost less than the death penalty (http://ccfaj.org/rr-dp-official.html). They claim that the state’s death penalty is “too costly and broken beyond repair,” and that California wastes millions each year on “taxpayer-financed appeals that can last 25 years.”
Proposition 35: Human Trafficking. Penalties. Initiative Statute.
- Increases criminal penalties for human trafficking, including prison sentences up to 15-years-to-life and fines up to $1,500,000.
- Fines collected to be used for victim services and law enforcement.
- Requires person convicted of trafficking to register as sex offender.
- Requires sex offenders to provide information regarding Internet access and identities they use in online activities.
- Prohibits evidence that victim engaged in sexual conduct from being used against victim in court proceedings.
- Requires police officer training on human trafficking.
- Opponents believe that under Prop. 35 people receiving financial support from “normal, consensual prostitution among adults” could be prosecuted as human traffickers and/or forced to register as sex offenders. They also assert that Prop. 35 would create “a new unfunded liability” because enforcement would be expensive.
- Supporters claim that Prop. 35 will protect California’s children and help victims through a fund paid for by human trafficking convicts. They also note that a recent study graded California an “F” for its inadequate child sex trafficking laws.
Proposition 36: Three Strikes Law. Repeat Felony Offenders. Penalties. Initiative Statute.
- Revises three strikes law to impose life sentence only when new felony conviction is serious or violent.
- Authorizes re-sentencing for offenders currently serving life sentences if third strike conviction was not serious or violent and judge determines sentence does not pose unreasonable risk to public safety.
- Continues to impose life sentence penalty if third strike conviction was for certain nonserious, non-violent sex or drug offenses or involved firearm possession.
- Maintains life sentence penalty for felons with nonserious, non-violent third strike if prior convictions were for rape, murder, or child molestation.
- Opponents argue that Prop. 36 is “totally unnecessary” because “prosecutors and judges already have the power to implement Three Strikes fairly.” They also claim that a hidden provision allows “thousands of dangerous criminals to get their prison sentence reduced.”
- Supporters believe that Prop. 36 saves hundreds of millions of dollars and that it keeps dangerous offenders in prison, whereas currently without it “dangerous criminals are being released early from prison because jails are overcrowded with nonviolent offenders.”