Capitol Alert

California voters face initiative to speed up executions

California voters will face dueling capital punishment measures in November, one that would abolish the death penalty and another aimed at making it more likely to be carried out.

The anti-death penalty measure, whose principal sponsor is actor Mike Farrell, qualified for the ballot earlier and, on Thursday, the secretary of state’s office announced that the pro-capital punsihment measure, sponsored by former professional football player Kermit Alexander, had also made it.

The obvious conflict between the two will be decided by voters and if both pass, the one with the greater level of support will prevail.

Alexander’s mother, sister and two nephews were murdered in 1984 in a home invasion that apparently was aimed at another house but hit his family by mistake. An 18-year-old gang member, Tiqueon Cox, who had been hired to kill someone else, was convicted and has been on death row ever since, along with hundreds of other convicted killers.

Alexander’s measure would speed up death penalty appeals and make other changes in procedure he and other sponsors say would make it more likely that executions would occur. The state last executed someone in 2006, and there are 748 condemned inmates now on death row. Since the last execution, there have been protracted legal battles over how executions can be legally conducted.