Last updated on: 4/13/2015 | Author:

Donald McCartin, JD Biography

Former California Superior Court judge
Con to the question "Should the Death Penalty Be Legal?"

“You and I know, Governor, that there is no such thing as ‘closure’ when a loved one is taken. What family members must find is reconciliation with the reality of their loss, and that can begin the minute the perpetrator is sent to a prison he will never leave. But to ask them to endure the years of being dragged through the courts with the promise that the state will end their pain by causing the death of another is a cruel lie.

So I agree that we should no longer play games, Governor Brown. You and I are both older now, so let’s stop playing the killing game…

I’m told you don’t have the power to end the death penalty by yourself, but you can point the way. You can have a huge financial impact on California by following the lead of Governor Ryan of Illinois and commuting the sentences of all the men and women on California’s death row – all 700-plus of them – to life without parole.”

“An Open Letter to Gov. Jerry Brown from the Former ‘Hanging Judge of Orange County,'”, Mar. 30, 2011

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • California Superior Court judge (appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D)), 1978-1993
  • Lawyer, family law, 1957-1977
  • Former ensign, US Navy
  • JD, University of Minnesota, 1955
  • BA, Macalester College, 1947
  • Attended Dubuque College (ROTC program)
  • Attended Northwestern University in Chicago
  • Born Apr. 21, 1925, in Minneapolis, MN
  • Died Sep. 15, 2012
  • Served aboard the USS Tennessee during World War II
  • Nicknamed “the hanging judge of Orange County” because he presided over nine cases that ended with death penalty verdicts
Quoted in:
  1. Should Life without Parole Replace the Death Penalty?