Explaining Prop 66 and the changes it brings to death row

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — It was one of the most controversial issues on the ballot: The use of the death penalty in California.

Prop 62 failed, keeping the death penalty in place. However, Prop 66 passed, which alters current procedures in the execution process.

But how will this change affect death row?

The entire country remains divided on the death penalty. Death sentences are at their lowest level in 40 years.

And for the second time in four years, Californians refused to end it.

Related Link: Dumanis on Local Election Outcome

After Californians rejected a similar repeal effort four years ago, prosecutors and police vowed to come up with a proposal to "mend, not end" the death penalty.

So this year, Prop 66 was on the ballot and it won. The initiative would enact several reforms, including limiting state appeals to five years by expanding the pool of available lawyers and having trial court judges handle appeals that raise issues, such as misconduct or incompetent representation.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis joined Good Morning San Diego to talk about how the new system would look.

"California still believes in the death penalty, they are just frustrated with the fact that it is taking so long and it really is an empty promise. One of the fixes was to shorten the appeals process. It should be done within 5 years. So it starts at the courts that’s heart it. The trial court appoints an attorney. It goes from there. We need more attorneys that do death penalty cases. We are now able to house more than one death row inmate in a cell and the inmates will start working to pay restitution to victims," she said.

Both proponents and opponents of the death penalty agreed the current system is broken. 

More than 900 convicted killers have been sent to death row in California since 1978, but only 13 have been executed.

The last execution by lethal injection was more than a decade ago.  

Categories: Local San Diego News, Propositions