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August 12, 2010

"California borrows from budget to build new death row"

The title of this post is the headline of this AP article, which gets started this way:

Despite California's $19 billion budget deficit, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration said Wednesday it will borrow nearly $65 million from the state's cash-strapped general fund to begin building a new 1,152-bed death row at San Quentin State Prison. Borrowing now will save money in the long run by reducing interest payments and taking advantage of the favorable construction climate, said Department of Finance spokesman H. D. Palmer.

Legislators and social services organizations have stalled the bonds that would usually pay for construction by suing Schwarzenegger over several of his budget vetoes last year. Palmer said the administration is confident the governor's veto authority will be upheld by the California Supreme Court, which is scheduled to hear arguments Sept. 8.

Legal debate aside, opponents of the death row expansion said it is foolish to take money from the general fund, which pays for ongoing state operations, when the state hasn't decided how to deal with its budget deficit.

Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, called it "stunningly hypocritical" that the governor is borrowing from the general fund at the same time he is attempting to furlough state employees three days each month to avoid a looming cash crisis. The state could soon again begin issuing IOUs because it is out of money, Huffman said in a statement.

He and Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, also criticized the projected cost overruns for a project that originally was expected to cost $220 million.

The administration put the total price tag at $356 million for 768 new cells, a 24-bed medical treatment center and other support buildings.  The new cells will contain 1,152 beds, because many of the inmates will be housed two to a cell.

August 12, 2010 at 03:54 PM | Permalink


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Guv Schwarzy is totally out of order.

Posted by: claudio giusti, italia | Aug 12, 2010 4:13:37 PM

If California could carry out its death sentences in 6 years, as Virginia does, we would only need a death row of 100 or so.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Aug 12, 2010 4:34:13 PM

So let me get this straight.

California legislatures have run this economy into the ground. A direct result of this egregious assault on the taxpayer has been a degration of the economy to facilitate a "favorable construction climate" that the government is NOW "taking advantage of."

Brilliant. (Throws arms up in exasperation)

Posted by: Eric Knight | Aug 12, 2010 5:41:05 PM

Kent, why 6 years? We could just put all 900 (?) or so of them in a big pit--and then just mow them down --we could call it Babi Yar for Killers 2. Want to take part?

Posted by: anon | Aug 13, 2010 12:25:56 AM

So you equate concentration camp victims to condemned murderers? Brilliant.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Aug 13, 2010 1:13:38 PM

The equation is not with concentration camp victims to condemned murderers, but with both being legal exercises of the law. Concentration camps were legal and the connection is not an illogical leap in terms of a slippery slope. Keep in mind that the Germans stared with the unfit in terms of eugenics = "déjà vu all over again."

Republican FL State House Candidate Marg Baker Wants 1940s Style Camps for Undocumented Immigrants and TalkLeft's comment on it.

See also Protecting the rule of law and the rights of suspects at the LA Times.

Ever since the attempted Christmas Day airliner bombing, a debate has raged over whether the U.S. criminal justice system is equal to the challenges posed by international terrorism. This page has long believed that it is, but Rep. Adam Schiff (D- Burbank) has a different view, reflected in a bill known as the Questioning of Terrorism Suspects Act of 2010. As we see it, the legislation gives needlessly short shrift to individual rights.

The bill would do two things. It would express a nonbinding "sense of Congress" about how the Miranda rule should be applied to terrorist cases, and it would provide a terrorism exception to current practices that exist to ensure that suspects are brought before a magistrate without "unnecessary delay." In both cases, the intention is to allow interrogators more freedom to extract information from suspects for intelligence purposes without jeopardizing a criminal case.

As Winston Smith learned, 2 + 2 = 5. When it come to sentencing law and policy, the questions seems to be not What would Jesus do? but instead seems to be What would Hitler do?

Posted by: George | Aug 13, 2010 2:57:02 PM

Your equation still doesn't work. Now your comparing mentally retarded and disabled people murdered by Nazis to people who chose to commit murder.

Also, I'm not Jesus. In fact, why not carry that to it's logical extent. Call Abraham Lincoln, our bloodiest president, a mass murderer. Myself, I see him as someone to be emulated. A willingness to enforce the law and a respect for human rights. Hence, he ordered mass executions and sought to end slavery.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Aug 13, 2010 4:54:57 PM

It is a "slippery slope" from (1) a proportionate punishment for a violent crime against another person that the perpetrator chose to commit to (2) extermination of people because of their religion or ethnic group? Sounds like a perfect example of a nonslippery slope.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Aug 13, 2010 10:24:07 PM

This reminds me of those animal hoarding stories, where authorities break in, the owner is dead, half eaten among 100 cats and dogs living in squalor. The appellate judges of Cali have a murderer hoarding disorder. They cannot find one to give up. Authorities should break in, arrest the appellate judges for animal abuse, and put all their pets to sleep in a day.

I am willing to call "Mr. Please Do Not Sue Your Neighbor," the biggest lawyer dumbass in our history. Draft. Income tax. Suspension of habeas corpus. Super-sizing the federal government. Invasion of sovereign states. Turned down opportunities to free slaves peacefully, as all other civilized nations had, free the newborn, buy the slaves. Killed 600,000 Americans. Delayed racial equality 100 years.

In his favor, he signed the arrest warrant for Chief Justice Taney, a traitor and lawbreaker. Another lawyer quietly kept it and did not hand it to the waiting federal marshal, to avert yet another controversy. The warrant may be reverently viewed in the Federal Marshal Museum. Left wing wackos may visit it on their pilgrimage to the Clinton Library.


Other traitor judges were pistol whipped on the bench and dragged bloody to a dungeon, for issuing habeases for Confederate spies. It is not the separation of powers that silenced the traitors on the bench. It was that pistol whipping, and the stint at the dungeon.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 16, 2010 1:21:17 AM

interesting link. i did not know that. It doesn't seem to have made it into any of the history books i've seen.

Posted by: rodsmith | Aug 16, 2010 11:28:07 AM

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