Capitol Alert

California measure to bolster death penalty cleared for signature gathering

The death chamber of the lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, Calif. in 2010. Last month, California proposed to allow corrections officials to choose one of four types of barbiturates to execute prisoners on death row depending on what’s available.
The death chamber of the lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, Calif. in 2010. Last month, California proposed to allow corrections officials to choose one of four types of barbiturates to execute prisoners on death row depending on what’s available. AP

A pro-death penalty initiative championed by former NFL defensive back Kermit Alexander was cleared Thursday to gather signatures for the 2016 ballot.

Alexander, whose relatives were murdered three decades ago by a man now on death row, wants to place responsibility for overseeing expedited death penalty appeals in the hands of the state Supreme Court, as well as mandate that inmates facing death work and pay restitution to victims’ families.

Death penalty advocates are hoping the state’s new lethal injection method will revive an execution program that has been dormant for nearly a decade.

The new measure, which must receive 366,000 signatures, also states that other voter-approved efforts relating to the death penalty be void should it pass with more affirmative votes.

One potential competing initiative would strike from the penal code death as a possible punishment. Voters rejected Proposition 34, a death penalty repeal, in 2012.

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