Voices from California's Death Row


Anonymous by request

Re: Ballot Initiatives

Before he passed away, U.S. Supreme Court justices Thurgood Marshall, spoke on numerous occasions concerning the judicial/prison systems in the United States. On one occasion he stated that “The Windows of the Supreme Court building are larger than some of the prison cells.” Both men and women live inside these small cells for years or for the remainder of they’re lives.

Justice Marshall was also very much against the death penalty. Life without the possibility of parole, 15/25 or more years to life. He was against all of them. Which should have been no surprise to anyone that follows the court.

Q1. Would you like to see “The Justice that Works Act” passed or not? Why or why not?

A1. Speaking for myself, if the supporters/writers of this initiative felt the way that they do, then why did it take them so long?

Q2. How do you feel about the replacement of life without the possibility of parole (LWOP), instead of the death penalty?

A2. I believe that LWOP is pretty much the same as the death penalty. Let’s be honest about this alternative there are men and quite possibly some women as well that have been on death row for over 30 years> I’ve been here for about 19 years. Yes, LWOP will give some of us more time in this life, but 30 or more years in prison is a lifetime. I will take the LWOP when or if it comes down to it.

Q3. 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)?

A3. My feelings concerning having to work is not an issue for me. However, taking 60$ of the wages for whatever is a issue for me the short answer is I will refuse to work. The longer answer is that I don’t mind at all being sent to a lock up/security housing unit for refusing to work. It’s not going to happen.

Q4. How do you feel about the mandate that all those with LWOP sentences have to pay 60% of their wages earned toward restitution if they have restitution orders in their case?

A4. You can’t get 60% of nothing.

Q5. 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?

A5. I wouldn’t say that either initiative changes my opinion about one or the other. One is the lesser of the other. Which doesn’t do much for my opinion.

Q6. If you have other opinions about these initiatives please tell us.

A6. Why isn’t anybody talking about releasing those of us that are in our 60 & 70 years of age and have served 30 or more years?