Last updated on: 9/2/2008 | Author: ProCon.org

California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice Biography

Position:
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Allowed?"
Reasoning:

“If we are to achieve the goals of justice, fairness and accuracy in the administration of the death penalty in California, and reduce delays at least to the national average, there is urgent need to increase funding at every level: trials, direct appeals and habeas corpus review. Once increased funding has been achieved, serious consideration should be given to both a proposed constitutional amendment to permit the California Supreme Court to transfer fully briefed pending death penalty appeals from the Supreme Court to the Courts of Appeal, and changes to California statutes, rules and policies to encourage more factual hearings and findings in state habeas proceedings in death penalty cases.

Reporting requirements should be imposed to systematically collect and make public cumulative data regarding all decisions by prosecutors in murder cases whether or not to charge special circumstances and/or seek the death penalty, as well as the disposition of such cases by dismissal, plea or verdict in the trial courts.

A Death Penalty Review Panel should be established to issue an annual report to the Legislature, the Governor and the courts, gauging the progress of the courts in reducing delays, analyzing the costs of and monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of this Commission, and examining ways of providing safeguards and making improvements in the way the California death penalty law functions. Each District Attorney Office in California should formulate a written Office Policy describing when and how decisions to seek the death penalty are made.

The constitutional and statutory provisions governing Gubernatorial clemency should be modified to maintain consistent records and eliminate
unnecessary procedural steps. This report sets forth an ambitious and expensive agenda of reform. The failure to implement it, however will be even more costly. The death penalty will remain a hollow promise to the people of California.”

Report and Recommendations on the Administration on the Administration of the Death Penalty in California,” (800KB) California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, June 30, 2008

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
  Organizations/VIPs/Others
Individuals and organizations that do not fit into the other star categories.
Description:

“The California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice was created by Senate Resolution No. 44 of the 2003-04 Session of the California State Senate, adopted on August 27, 2004.[The Commission expired upon issuance of its final report on June 30, 2008] S.R. 44 provides:

WHEREAS, Since legislation was enacted in 2000 that allows convicted persons to obtain postconviction DNA testing in California, a number of people have been exonerated and released from prison after serving several years in prison, and more than 100 American sentenced to death have subsequently been exonerated and freed from death row based on DNA testing; and

WHEREAS, Thorough, unbiased study and review in other states has resulted in recommendations for significant reforms to the criminal justice system in order to avoid wrongful convictions and executions, and California has not engaged in any such review of the state’s criminal justice system, now…”

“Charge,” California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice website (accessed Aug. 26, 2008)

Mission:

“To study and review the administration of criminal justice in California to determine the extent to which that process has failed in the past, resulting in wrongful executions or the wrongful conviction of innocent persons.

(2) To examine ways of providing safeguards and making improvements in the way the criminal justice system functions.

(3) To make any recommendations and proposals designed to further ensure that the application and administration of criminal justice in California is just, fair, and accurate…”

“Charge,” California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice website (accessed Aug. 26, 2008)

Other:
None found
Quoted in:
  1. Should Victims' Opinions Matter When Considering the Death Penalty?