A law-and-order group on Monday asked a state appeals court to bump a measure off the November ballot that would repeal California’s death penalty, arguing that it violates a state rule against proposing multiple reforms.
The ballot language is “deceptive” and conflicts with the state’s limit of voter initiatives to a single subject, the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation argues in a petition filed with the Sacramento-based 3rd District Court of Appeal.
The foundation brought the lawsuit on behalf of Phyllis Loya, the mother of a Pittsburg police officer fatally shot in 2005 whose killer was sent to death row by a Contra Costa County jury.
The SAFE California Act would abolish the death penalty, clear the state’s death row and replace capital punishment with life in prison without the possibility of parole. But the measure also provides for shifting as much as $100 million used for death penalty costs to a fund that would pay for solving murder and rape cases.
The lawsuit argues that the measure contains conflicting proposals that combine unrelated reforms into a single ballot argument. “This kind of manipulation … is exactly what the single-subject rule was put in the constitution to prevent,” said Kent Scheidegger, the foundation’s legal director.
Supporters of the ballot measure predicted the appeals court would reject the legal arguments.
“We are confident that the courts will agree that a fully informed electorate should decide on this critical issue,” Jeanne Woodford, the former San Quentin warden heading the campaign, said in a statement.
By: Howard Mintz