Voices from California's Death Row

Richard Gamache


Thank you for your letter, and for sending me a copy of the ballot measure. I appreciate the fact that Finally someone, anyone, is finally asking what we, the “condemned” think and feel about this. 

1.      Would I like to see “the Justice that Works Act passes or not?  Emphatically Yes!  For several reasons – a) I came to San Quentin at the ripe old age of 23 years old (a “first-timer”) in 1996. So I have been forced to live in specialized housing for 20 years. With no programs! No real yard to speak of! A closet of a cell. No jobs…nothing! This is not living, it’s existing – AT BEST. 

b) My appeal is still in the State court. So, if I were to have a non-capital appeal, the court will have a 1 year time limit to rule on my appeal. Rather than allowing the California Supreme Court to sit on the capital appeal for 10-15 years or more.  I cannot and will not imagine existing in misery while forced to be housed n specialized housing for another 15 plus years!

2.     How do I feel about being sentenced to LWOP instead of the death penalty? I am going to die in prison. I want movement, programs, jobs….I want out of S.Q. basically….I’m ready!

3.     How do I feel about the work requirements – I have a work ethic@ I want to be a productive member of my society – even if it is in prison!

4.     How do I feel about restitution fines being collected at 60% and luckily all of my fines and fees have been payed so I don’t really pay this much mind.

5.  How should people vote between the 2 ballot measures? I always, always, Always say vote your conscience, and no one change my opinion. I want to live – I want life. 

From Richard Gamache