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Commission Hears Testimony Against Death Penalty

Natasha Minsker,
ACLU of California Center for Advocacy & Policy
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February 29, 2008

In a new YouTube video released yesterday, Aundré Herron talks about why California’s death penalty has to go. As both a former prosecutor and murder victim survivor, Herron has a unique and incisive perspective on the death penalty, which she shared with the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice. Watch her testimony.

Herron commented that she empathizes with the desire to seek revenge, but still understands that the death penalty is broken and can never be fixed. Her testimony surprised the Commission and got members to take notice of the growing number of victim survivors who are speaking out against the death penalty.

At the hearing, several other murder victim family members spoke, explaining their stories and their reasons for opposing the death penalty. Among other things, they said that the death penalty does nothing to heal their pain and that it only diverts resources from programs that could help them, as well as from solving and prosecuting other serious crimes.

These stories and perspectives are included in a new publication, Voices from California Crime Victims for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

The California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice is preparing for its third and final public hearing on California’s broken death penalty, to be held March 28th at Santa Clara University. At hearings in January and February, the Commission heard about other problems with California’s death penalty, including racial and geographic disparities in death sentencing, the lack of well qualified defense attorneys, and the lack of transparency and accountability for local prosecutors. The Commission will hear evidence of further problems at its final hearing.

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