Voices from California's Death Row

Brooke Rottiers


1.      Would you like to see “The Justice that Works Act” passed or not? Why or why not? 

The reasons why I do want to see “The Justice That Works Act” pass is because killing anyone is wrong.  I do not sleep at night due to the crimes that put me on Death Row.  For the past 10 years I’ve not had even one full night of sleep.  This, among other things, is my cross to carry.  Would you be able to sleep if you chose to not save an innocent life? Obviously death row is not full of innocent people, but some have been wrongly convicted and face death because of it. We should all be sentenced to Life Without the Possibility of Parole and mandated to work and pay the victims families’ restitution.  Of course monetary support cannot replace a lost loved ones’ life…LWOPP sentences still ensures that the convicted will not ever be free, we will still die alone in prison. Yes a harsh punishment and harsh reality…but we should help the victims’ families by working as well. 

 2.      How do you feel about the replacement of Life Without the Possibility of Parole (LWOP), instead of the death penalty?

I feel that replacing the Death Penalty with LWOPP is realistic and justice. As it is now, on “The Row”, we are here with this “execution” sentence, knowing we’ll sooner die of natural causes. We should be made to work & help the families of our victims. Now we sit around, talk, read, watch T.V., write letters and use the phone. The Devil is the owner of idol time. As LWOPPs we’ll be busy working for the families, also be able to attend Religious Services. Our Creator did not have a hand in what we did to land on “The Row”, but He could still have a plan for us…”  Turn from Evil and do Good for the Lord loves justice and He will never abandon”  (Psalms 37:27)

3. How do you feel about the requirement that all those with LWOP sentences have to work (this would include all those currently on death row)?

Yes, I do agree that LWOPP sentences should work and pay 60% of WORK INCOME to victim’s restitution. However, if it is NOT money we’ve earned working, then NO.  Why? Some inmates receive money from family and friends, that money should not pay restitution for the crimes they are not responsible for. Our work wages should pay this, not theirs. 

4.      How do you feel about the mandate that all those with LWOP sentences would have to pay 60% of their wages earned toward restitution if they have restitution orders in their case?

My response to #3 answers this question as well…Yes I do agree that LWOPPS should pay 60% of EARNED WORK WAGES to victim’s restitution for their families. 

5.      There is also a ballot initiative called "The Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act" that seeks to speed up executions. If both pass, the one with the most votes will go into effect. Does that change how people should vote? Does that change your opinion of the Justice that Works Act?

“The Death Penalty Reform & Savings Act” on the ballot is not an initiative that can be compared to “The Justice That Works Act”. “The Death Penalty Reform & Savings Act” is an initiative that does NOTHING to save California money NOW nor does it help the victim’s families NOW.  This initiative does NOT affect the almost 1,000 inmates who are currently on Death Row. The present cost will continue to be the same for decades. It only affects the persons that get sentenced to death after January 1, 2017. So all it “reforms” right now is paperwork. “The Justice That Works Act” saves California money NOW and helps victim’s families NOW. Therefore, my opinion of “The Justice that Works Act” has not changed. 

 6.      If you have other opinions about these initiatives please tell us.

 I think all my opinions are clear. But allow me to make a few more points. Killing people does nothing but cause pain to those who love the deceased. A murderer and a victim have something in common: Both are someone’s mother-father, daughter-son; sister-brother; aunt-uncle; wife-husband; cousin or friend. Not only have the victims’ families innocently been affected by these crimes, the convicts families too are innocently affected. Where does the hurting of innocent people stop? It can stop right here, right now, with “The Justice That Works Act”. We should be sentenced from death to LWOPP working daily to help the victims’ families. It’s taken an average of 15 years to find innocent Death Row inmates who’ve been wrongly sentenced to death. You have to ask yourself as a voter “are you comfortable with possibility killing an innocent woman or man as the real killer still roams the streets freely.”  LWOPPs will never be possible for parole – never see freedom. No more innocent people need to be killed.  As a California voter you should also know that on the Death Certificate of an executed inmate, the cause of death still reads: “HOMICIDE”. 

From Brooke Rottiers