Deputies union leader criticizes move to end death penalty - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Deputies union leader criticizes move to end death penalty

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Passage of Proposition 34, the initiative on the November ballot that would replace the death penalty in California with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, would "put law enforcement at risk," the president of the union representing San Diego County Sheriff's Department deputies said Friday.

"Eliminating the death penalty would impact public safety," Deputy Sheriffs' Association of San Diego President Dave Schaller said in conjunction with the campaign against the measure announcing additions to the list of law enforcement unions opposed to the proposition.

Natasha Minsker, campaign manager of the campaign on behalf of Proposition 34, called the measure "justice that works for everybody."

"Thousands of victims wait for justice while we waste millions on death row, on special housing, lifelong legal teams that work only on death penalty cases and extra visiting hours," Minsker told City News Service.

"Killers who commit monstrous acts must be swiftly brought to justice, locked up forever and severely punished. That's why Proposition 34 directs $100 million in savings for more DNA testing, crime labs and other tools that help cops solve rapes and murders."

Proposition 34 would apply retroactively to people already sentenced to death and require convicted killers to work while imprisoned, with their wages applied to any victim restitution fines or orders against them.

Passage of the measure would result in net savings to the state and counties of "the high tens of millions of dollars annually on a statewide basis," according to an analysis prepared by Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor and Director of Finance Ana J. Matosantos.

California's death penalty law was approved by voters in 1978 and has resulted in 13 executions, the most recent in 2006.

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