Shocker: California may become civilized and abolish the death penalty

Shocker: California may become civilized and abolish the death penalty

by digby

There isn't much about this election that has me inspired. But this will make my decade if it passes:

Voters in California are now effectively split in their views on repealing the state's death penalty, according to a new poll from USC/LA Times released Friday. Forty-five percent of the 1,440 likely voters polled oppose Proposition 34 (banning the death penalty), while 43 percent support repeal. The numbers are within the 2.58 percent margin of error, making it a statistical dead heat.

The survey represents a big shift from the previous USC/LA Times poll from mid-September, which showed 50 percent opposed to the new ban and only 39 percent in support of outlawing the death penalty. The PollTracker average now shows opposition for the repeal at 46 percent, with support at 43 percent.

Holy, holy, holy shit. I'm not going to get my hopes up, but if it even comes close I will have my faith in my fellow man restored a little bit.

The death penalty is barbaric, randomly applied, often racist form of state violence. Even if you believe in "an eye for an eye", (which I don't) you simply cannot believe that a legal system as crudely arbitrary as ours can possibly deliver such a final form of justice with any confidence. A sentence of life without parole will keep society safe while at least leaving open the possibility of rectifying a horrible injustice if the evidence comes to light. And there are plenty of examples of such injustices.

I have zero confidence that it will be banned nationally in my lifetime with the court being what it is and certainly many states (Texas in particular) seem to revel in their kill rates so I wouldn't expect it to happen there. But California might actually do it. And that's a start.