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November 8, 2016 — California General Election

State of California
Prop. 66 — Death Penalty Court Procedures Initiative Statute - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results


6,626,159 votes yes (51.1%)

6,333,731 votes no (48.9%)

100% of precincts reporting (24,847/24,847).

Death Penalty. Procedures.

Unless you’ve experienced it yourself, it must be hard to imagine the horror and grief of having a loved one brutally murdered. Understandably, victims’ families want justice for their loss. And to many crime victims, that means a death sentence and execution for the person convicted of the murder. But that rarely happens in California.

Since voters here reinstated capital punishment in 1978, just 13 death row inmates have been executed.

It’s been more than 10 years since the last execution. In 2006, a federal judge suspended capital punishment over concern about California’s lethal injection process. The state has been very slow to develop a new single-drug method of execution.

Supporters of Proposition 66 say we should “mend, not end California’s death penalty.” They argue that legal appeals required by law are much slower than they need to be. Their measure would shorten the appeals process in several ways.

First, it would place time limits on legal appeals that now drag on for 20 years or more. It also would require the courts to more quickly appoint defense attorneys for indigent inmates. Appointing an attorney currently takes up to five years. That’s partly because few lawyers want to take on death penalty appeals: They’re time-consuming and, unless the client is wealthy, they don’t pay well.

Prop. 66 would require qualified attorneys to take up death penalty appeals whether they want to or not.  That would surely be challenged. It’s also unclear how that part of Prop. 66 would be enforced.

The measure would also allow death row inmates to be kept at any state prison. Currently, all male inmates are housed in segregated single cells at San Quentin State Prison. Prop. 66 proponents say that level of security costs too much money and isn’t necessary.

Finance analysts say that if Prop. 66 passes, it could cost more money for some things like faster appeals, but also save money on state prisons.  Financially, they say, it would be about a wash. 

Proponents say the measure would give crime victims the justice they deserve much more quickly. Opponents of  Prop. 66 say speeding up appeals increases the risk of executing an innocent person (supporters deny this). They also say capital punishment is inherently wrong and can’t be fixed.


With two death penalty propositions on the ballot (Proposition 62 is the other), voters will ultimately decide between “mending or ending” California’s death penalty this November.


Changes procedures governing state court challenges to death sentences. Designates superior court for initial petitions and limits successive petitions. Requires appointed attorneys who take noncapital appeals to accept death penalty appeals. Exempts prison officials from existing regulation process for developing execution methods. 

What is this proposal?

Easy Voter Guide — Summary for new and busy voters

Information provided by The League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

The way it is now

Prisoners sentenced to death may fight the sentence before the California Supreme Court and then the federal courts. This process can take multiple decades and cost the state millions of dollars. Of the 930 people who have received a death sentence since 1978, 15 have been executed and 103 have died while waiting to be executed. Under current law, inmates sentenced to death must be housed at specific prisons.



What if it passes?

Change the court appeals process for death sentences to shorten the time it takes. One type of legal challenge would be handled first by local courts before it could be handled by the California Supreme Court. A five-year time limit would be placed on legal challenges to death sentences. Additional lawyers could be made eligible to represent death row inmates. Inmates sentenced to death could be housed at any state prison. 

Budget effect

Long-term costs are not clear. State costs would increase in the short-term, possibly in the tens of millions of dollars, due to court costs from the new shorter time limits. The measure could save money for state prisons.

People FOR say

  •  The appeals process for death row inmates needs to be quicker and less complicated.
  • Prop 66 would save money and ensure that justice is carried out in a timely manner.

People AGAINST say

  • Prop 66 would cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in legal and lawyer fees. 
  • Shortening the appeals process increases the risk of executing an innocent person. 

Pros & Cons — Unbiased explanation with arguments for and against

Information provided by The League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

The Question

Should the time it takes for legal challenges to death sentences be significantly shortened?  

The Situation

Death-penalty convictions are always automatically appealed to the California Supreme Court, and may also go through a second stage of appeals in the courts, called “habeas corpus petitions.” This second stage of the appeals process can take 15–25 years. The state pays for both the defense and the prosecution of appeals, at a cost of $55 million annually. There are currently 748 people on death row in California. Because the state’s lethal injection protocols are currently under legal review, no executions have taken place since 2006. 

The Proposal

Prop. 66 proposes a number of changes in the way appeals of death penalty  convictions are handled, with the goal of significantly shortening the time the total process takes. Instead of going directly to the California Supreme Court, habeas  petitions would be heard first by the lower courts in which the initial trials were handled.

Both direct appeals and habeas petitions would have to be completed within five years from the time of sentencing. Habeas appeals would have to be filed within a year of counsel being appointed and would have to be decided by the courts within a year of filing. Additional appeals would be limited. Appeals counsel would be appointed immediately, and qualified appeals attorneys who handle noncapital offenses would be required to accept appointment for capital cases if they want to remain on the list of qualified appeals attorneys.

All inmates sentenced to life without parole would be required to work; the maximum amount of their earnings that could be used for reparations to their victims would be raised from 50 to 70 percent. Death row inmates could be housed in any California prison rather than just in a few prisons. Execution methods would be exempted from public oversight.


Fiscal effect

The fiscal effects of Prop. 66 are very difficult to project because there are varying possible consequences of its many provisions. Prop. 66 could increase the cost of appeals because it requires habeas petitions to be heard by lower courts first. It would also have higher near-term costs, perhaps in the tens of millions of dollars annually, to pay for processing currently pending appeals in the required time frame. Potential state prison savings could be in the tens of millions of dollars annually. 

Supporters say

  • The death penalty system in California is broken, but it should be mended, not ended.
  • Speeding up the death penalty appeals process would save taxpayers $30 million annually. 

Opponents say

  • Prop. 66 is confusing and poorly written and would be subject to costly legal challenges.
  •  Additional layers of appeals and construction of new prison facilities would cost taxpayers millions.

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

YES vote means

Court procedures for legal challenges to death sentences would be subject to various changes, such as time limits on those challenges and revised rules to increase the number of available attorneys for those challenges. Condemned inmates could be housed at any state prison.

NO vote means

There would be no changes to the state’s current court procedures for legal challenges to death sentences. The state would still be limited to housing condemned inmates only at certain state prisons.


Attorney General of California

  • Changes procedures governing state court appeals and petitions challenging death penalty convictions and sentences.
  • Designates superior court for initial petitions and limits successive petitions.
  • Establishes time frame for state court death penalty review.
  • Requires appointed attorneys who take noncapital appeals to accept death penalty appeals.
  • Exempts prison officials from existing regulation process for developing execution methods.
  • Authorizes death row inmate transfers among California prisons.
  • Increases portion of condemned inmates’ wages that may be applied to victim restitution.
  • States other voter approved measures related to death penalty are void if this measure receives more affirmative votes.


  • Unknown ongoing fiscal impact on state court costs for processing legal challenges to death sentences.
  • Near-term increases in state court costs— potentially in the tens of millions of dollars annually—due to an acceleration of spending to address new time lines on legal challenges to death sentences. Savings of similar amounts in future years. 
  • Potential state prison savings that could be in the tens of millions of dollars annually


Legislative Analyst's Office

Death Sentences

First degree murder is generally defined as the unlawful killing of a human being that (1) is deliberate and premeditated or (2) takes place while certain other crimes are committed, such as kidnapping. It is punishable by a life sentence in state prison with the possibility of being released by the state parole board after a minimum of 25 years. However, current state law makes first degree murder punishable by death or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole when “special circumstances” of the crime have been charged and proven in court. Existing state law identifies a number of special circumstances that can be charged, such as in cases when the murder was carried out for financial gain or when more than one murder was committed. In addition to first degree murder, state law also specifies a few other crimes, such as treason against the state of California, that can also be punished by death. Since the current death penalty law was enacted in California in 1978, 930 individuals have received a death sentence. In recent years, an average of about 20 individuals annually have received death sentences.

Legal Challenges to Death Sentences

Two Ways to Challenge Death Sentences. Following a death sentence, defendants can challenge the sentence in two ways:

  • Direct Appeals. Under current state law, death penalty verdicts are automatically appealed to the California Supreme Court. In these “direct appeals,” the defendants’ attorneys argue that violations of state law or federal constitutional law took place during the trial, such as evidence improperly being included or excluded from the trial. These direct appeals focus on the records of the court proceedings that resulted in the defendant receiving a death sentence. If the California Supreme Court confirms the conviction and death sentence, the defendant can ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision.
  • Habeas Corpus Petitions. In addition to direct appeals, death penalty cases ordinarily involve extensive legal challenges—first in the California Supreme Court and then in federal courts. These challenges, which are commonly referred to as “habeas corpus” petitions, involve factors of the case that are different from those considered in direct appeals. Examples of such factors include claims that (1) the defendant’s attorney was ineffective or (2) if the jury had been aware of additional information (such as biological, psychological, or social factors faced by the defendant), it would not have sentenced the defendant to death.

Attorneys Appointed to Represent Condemned Inmates in Legal Challenges. The California Supreme Court appoints attorneys to represent individuals who have been sentenced to death but cannot afford legal representation. These attorneys must meet qualifications established by the Judicial Council (the governing and policymaking body of the judicial branch). Some of these attorneys are employed by state agencies—specifically, the Office of the State Public Defender or the Habeas Corpus Resource Center. The remainder are private attorneys who are paid by the California Supreme Court. Different attorneys generally are appointed to represent individuals in direct appeals and habeas corpus petitions.

State Incurs Legal Challenge Costs. The state pays for the California Supreme Court to hear these legal challenges and for attorneys to represent condemned inmates. The state also pays for the attorneys employed by the state Department of Justice who seek to uphold death sentences while cases are being challenged in the courts. In total, the state currently spends about $55 million annually on the legal challenges to death sentences.

Legal Challenges Can Take a Couple of Decades. Of the 930 individuals who have received a death sentence since 1978, 15 have been executed, 103 have died prior to being executed, 64 have had their sentences reduced by the courts, and 748 are in state prison with death sentences. The vast majority of the 748 condemned inmates are at various stages of the direct appeal or habeas corpus petition process. These legal challenges—measured from when the individual receives a death sentence to when the individual has completed all state and federal legal challenge proceedings—can take a couple of decades to complete in California due to various factors. For example, condemned inmates can spend significant amounts of time waiting for the California Supreme Court to appoint attorneys to represent them. As of April 2016, 49 individuals were waiting for attorneys to be appointed for their direct appeals and 360 individuals were waiting for attorneys to be appointed for their habeas corpus petitions. In addition, condemned inmates can spend a significant amount of time waiting for their cases to be heard by the courts. As of April 2016, an estimated 337 direct appeals and 263 state habeas corpus petitions were pending in the California Supreme Court.

Implementation of the Death Penalty

Housing of Condemned Inmates. Condemned male inmates generally are required to be housed at San Quentin State Prison (on death row), while condemned female inmates are housed at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla. The state currently has various security regulations and procedures that result in increased security costs for these inmates. For example, inmates under a death sentence generally are handcuffed and escorted at all times by one or two officers while outside their cells. In addition, unlike most inmates, condemned inmates are currently required to be placed in separate cells.

Executions Currently Halted by Courts. The state uses lethal injection to execute condemned inmates. However, because of different legal issues surrounding the state’s lethal injection procedures, executions have not taken place since 2006. For example, the courts ruled that the state did not follow the administrative procedures specified in the Administrative Procedures Act when it revised its execution regulations in 2010. These procedures require state agencies to engage in certain activities to provide the public with a meaningful opportunity to participate in the process of writing state regulations. Draft lethal injection regulations have been developed and are currently undergoing public review.

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Legislative Analyst's Office

This measure seeks to shorten the time that the legal challenges to death sentences take. Specifically, it (1) requires that habeas corpus petitions first be heard in the trial courts, (2) places time limits on legal challenges to death sentences, (3) changes the process for appointing attorneys to represent condemned inmates, and (4) makes various other changes. (There is another measure on this ballot—Proposition 62—that also relates to the death penalty. Proposition 62 would eliminate the death penalty for first degree murder.)

Requires Habeas Corpus Petitions First Be Heard in Trial Courts

The measure requires that habeas corpus petitions first be heard in trial courts instead of the California Supreme Court. (Direct appeals would continue to be heard in the California Supreme Court.) Specifically, these habeas corpus petitions would be heard by the judge who handled the original murder trial unless good cause is shown for another judge or court to hear the petition. The measure requires trial courts to explain in writing their decision on each petition, which could be appealed to the Courts of Appeal. The decisions made by the Courts of Appeal could then be appealed to the California Supreme Court. The measure allows the California Supreme Court to transfer any habeas corpus petitions currently pending before it to the trial courts. 

Places Time Limits on Legal Challenges to Death Sentences

Requires Completion of Direct Appeal and Habeas Corpus Petition Process Within Five Years. The measure requires that the direct appeal and the habeas corpus petition process be completed within five years of the death sentence. The measure also requires the Judicial Council to revise its rules to help ensure that direct appeals and habeas corpus petitions are completed within this time frame. The five-year requirement would apply to new legal challenges, as well as those currently pending in court. For challenges currently pending, the measure requires that they be completed within five years from when Judicial Council adopts revised rules. If the process takes more than five years, victims or their attorneys could request a court order to address the delay.

Requires Filing of Habeas Corpus Petitions Within One Year of Attorney Appointment. The measure requires that attorneys appointed to represent condemned inmates in habeas corpus petitions file the petition with the trial courts within one year of their appointment. The trial court generally would then have one year to make a decision on the petition. If a petition is not filed within this time period, the trial court must dismiss the petition unless it determines that the defendant is likely either innocent or not eligible for the death sentence.

Places Other Limitations. In order to help meet the above time frames, the measure places other limits on legal challenges to death sentences. For example, the measure does not allow additional habeas corpus petitions to be filed after the first petition is filed, except in those cases where the court finds that the defendant is likely either innocent or not eligible for the death sentence.

Changes Process for Appointing Attorneys

The measure requires the Judicial Council and the California Supreme Court to consider changing the qualifications that attorneys representing condemned inmates must meet. According to the measure, these qualifications should (1) ensure competent representation and (2) expand the number of attorneys that can represent condemned inmates so that legal challenges to death sentences are heard in a timely manner. The measure also requires trial courts—rather than the California Supreme Court—to appoint attorneys for habeas corpus petitions.

In addition, the measure changes how attorneys are appointed for direct appeals under certain circumstances. Currently, the California Supreme Court appoints attorneys from a list of qualified attorneys it maintains. Under the measure, certain attorneys could also be appointed from the lists of attorneys maintained by the Courts of Appeal for non-death penalty cases. Specifically, those attorneys who (1) are qualified for appointment to the most serious non-death penalty appeals and (2) meet the qualifications adopted by the Judicial Council for appointment to death penalty cases would be required to accept appointment to direct appeals if they want to remain on the Courts of Appeal’s appointment lists.

Makes Other Changes

Habeas Corpus Resources Center Operations. The measure eliminates the Habeas Corpus Resources Center’s five-member board of directors and requires the California Supreme Court to oversee the center. The measure also requires that the center’s attorneys be paid at the same level as attorneys at the Office of the State Public Defender, as well as limits its legal activities.

Inmate Work and Payments to Victims of Crime RequirementsCurrent state law generally requires that inmates work while they are in prison. State prison regulations allow for some exceptions to these requirements, such as for inmates who pose too great a security risk to participate in work programs. In addition, inmates may be required by the courts to make payments to victims of crime. Up to 50 percent of any money inmates receive is used to pay these debts. This measure specifies that every person under a sentence of death must work while in state prison, subject to state regulations. Because the measure does not change state regulations, existing prison practices related to inmate work requirements would not necessarily be changed. In addition, the measure requires that 70 percent of any money condemned inmates receive be used to pay any debts owed to victims.

Enforcement of Death Sentence. The measure allows the state to house condemned inmates in any prison. The measure also exempts the state’s execution procedures from the Administrative Procedures Act. In addition, the measure makes various changes regarding the method of execution used by the state. For example, legal challenges to the method could only be heard in the court that imposed the death sentence. In addition, if such challenges were successful, the measure requires the trial court to order a valid method of execution. In cases where federal court orders prevent the state from using a given method of execution, the state prisons would be required to develop a method of execution that meets federal requirements within 90 days. Finally, the measure exempts various health care professionals that assist with executions from certain state laws and disciplinary actions by licensing agencies, if those actions are imposed as a result of assisting with executions.

Financial effect

Legislative Analyst's Office

State Court Costs

Impact on Cost Per Legal Challenge Uncertain. The fiscal impact of the measure on state court-related costs of each legal challenge to a death sentence is uncertain. This is because the actual cost could vary significantly depending on four key factors: (1) the complexity of the legal challenges filed, (2) how state courts address existing and new legal challenges, (3) the availability of attorneys to represent condemned inmates, and (4) whether additional attorneys will be needed to process each legal challenge.

On the one hand, the measure could reduce the cost of each legal challenge. For example, the requirement that each challenge generally be completed in five years, as well as the limits on the number of habeas corpus petitions that can be filed, could result in the filing of fewer, shorter legal documents. Such a change could result in each legal challenge taking less time and state resources to process. 

On the other hand, some of the measure’s provisions could increase state costs for each legal challenge. For example, the additional layers of review required for a habeas corpus petition could result in additional time and resources for the courts to process each legal challenge. In addition, there could be additional attorney costs if the state determines that a new attorney must be appointed when a habeas corpus petition ruling by the trial courts is appealed to the Courts of Appeal.

In view of the above, the ongoing annual fiscal impact of the measure on state costs related to legal challenges to death sentences is unknown.

Near-Term Annual Cost Increases From Accelerated Spending on Existing Cases. Regardless of how the measure affects the cost of each legal challenge, the measure would accelerate the amount the state spends on legal challenges to death sentences. This is because the state would incur annual cost increases in the near term to process hundreds of pending legal challenges within the time limits specified in the measure. The state would save similar amounts in future years as some or all of these costs would have otherwise occurred over a much longer term absent this measure. Given the significant number of pending cases that would need to be addressed, the actual amount and duration of these accelerated costs in the near term is unknown. It is possible, however, that such costs could be in the tens of millions of dollars annually for many years.

State Prisons

To the extent that the state changes the way it houses condemned inmates, the measure could result in state prison savings. For example, if male inmates were transferred to other prisons instead of being housed in single cells at San Quentin, it could reduce the cost of housing and supervising these inmates. In addition, to the extent the measure resulted in additional executions that reduced the number of condemned inmates, the state would also experience additional savings. In total, such savings could potentially reach the tens of millions of dollars annually.

Other Fiscal Effects

To the extent that the changes in this measure have an effect on the incidence of murder in California or how often prosecutors seek the death penalty in murder trials, the measure could affect state and local government expenditures. The resulting fiscal impact, if any, is unknown and cannot be estimated.


Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

California’s elected law enforcement leaders, police officers, frontline prosecutors, and the families of murder victims ask you to REFORM the California death penalty system by voting YES ON PROPOSITION 66!

We agree California’s current death penalty system is broken. The most heinous criminals sit on death row for 30 years, with endless appeals delaying justice and costing taxpayers hundreds of millions.

It does not need to be this way.

The solution is to MEND, NOT END, California’s death penalty.

The solution is YES on PROPOSITION 66.

Proposition 66 was written to speed up the death penalty appeals system while ensuring that no innocent person is ever executed.

Proposition 66 means the worst of the worst killers receive the strongest sentence.

Prop. 66 brings closure to the families of victims.

Proposition 66 protects public safety—these brutal killers have no chance of ever being in society again. Prop. 66 saves taxpayers money, because heinous criminals will no longer be sitting on death row at taxpayer expense for 30+ years.

Proposition 66 was written by frontline death penalty prosecutors who know the system inside and out. They know how the system is broken, and they know how to fix it. It may sound complicated, but the reforms are actually quite simple.


1. All state appeals should be limited to 5 years. 2. Every murderer sentenced to death will have their special appeals lawyer assigned immediately. Currently, it can be five years or more before they are even assigned a lawyer. 3. The pool of available lawyers to handle these appeals will be expanded. 4. The trial courts who handled the death penalty trials and know them best will deal with the initial appeals. 5. The State Supreme Court will be empowered to oversee the system and ensure appeals are expedited while protecting the rights of the accused. 6. The State Corrections Department (Prisons) will reform death row housing; taking away special privileges from these brutal killers and saving millions.

Together, these reforms will save California taxpayers over $30,000,000 annually, according to former California Finance Director Mike Genest, while making our death penalty system work again.


Death sentences are issued rarely and judiciously, and only against the very worst murderers.

To be eligible for the death penalty in California, you have to be guilty of first-degree murder with “special circumstances.” These special circumstances include, in part:

  • Murderers who raped/tortured their victims.
  • Child killers.
  • Multiple murderers/serial killers. 
  • Murders committed by terrorists; as part of a hate-crime; or killing a police officer.

There are nearly 2,000 murders in California annually. Only about 15 death penalty sentences are imposed. But when these horrible crimes occur, and a jury unanimously finds a criminal guilty and separately, unanimously recommends death, the appeals should be heard within five years, and the killer executed. Help us protect California, provide closure to victims, and save taxpayers millions.

Visit for more information.

Then join law enforcement and families of victims and vote YES ON PROPOSITION 66!

JACKIE LACEY, District Attorney of Los Angeles County

KERMIT ALEXANDER, Family Member of Multiple Homicide Victims

SHAWN WELCH, President
Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriffs Association 

— Secretary of State Voter Info Guide

Arguments AGAINST


Evidence shows MORE THAN 150 INNOCENT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SENTENCED TO DEATH, and some have been executed because of poorly written laws like this one.

Prop. 66 is so confusing and poorly written that we don’t know all of its consequences. We do know this: it will add more layers of government bureaucracy causing more delays, cost taxpayers money, and increase California’s risk of executing an innocent person.


According to nonpartisan analysis, Prop. 66 could cost “tens of millions of dollars annually” with “unknown” costs beyond that. Read the LAO’s report posted at

Experts say Prop. 66 will: 

  • INCREASE PRISON SPENDING while schools, social services, and other priorities suffer. 
  • INCREASE TAXPAYER-FUNDED legal defense for death row inmates, requiring the state to hire as many as 400 new taxpayer-funded attorneys. 
  • LEAD TO CONSTRUCTION of new TAXPAYER-FUNDED DEATH ROW facilities. This initiative authorizes the state to house death row inmates in new prisons, anywhere in California. 
  • Lead to EXPENSIVE LITIGATION by lawyers who will challenge a series of poorly written provisions.

“Prop. 66 is so flawed that it’s impossible to know for sure all the hidden costs it will inflict on California taxpayers.”— John Van de Kamp, former Attorney General of California.


Instead of making sure everyone gets a fair trial with all the evidence presented, this measure REMOVES IMPORTANT LEGAL SAFEGUARDS and could easily lead to fatal mistakes.

This measure is modeled after laws from states like Texas, where authorities have executed innocent people. People like Cameron Willingham and Carlos De Luna, both executed in Texas. Experts now say they were innocent.

Prop. 66 will: 

  • LIMIT the ability to present new evidence of innocence in court. 
  • LEAVE people who can’t afford a good attorney vulnerable to mistakes. 
  • CLOG local courts by moving death penalty cases there, adding new layers of bureaucracy and placing high profile cases in the hands of inexperienced judges and attorneys. This would lead to costly mistakes.

“If someone’s executed and later found innocent, we can’t go back.”—Judge LaDoris Cordell, Santa Clara (retired).


Prop. 66 is a misguided experiment that asks taxpayers to increase the costs of our justice and prison systems by MILLIONS to enact poorly-written reforms that would put California at risk.

SF Weekly stated, “Combing through the initiative’s 16 pages is like looking through the first draft of an undergraduate paper. The wording is vague, unfocused and feels tossed off.”

Instead of adding new layers of government bureaucracy and increasing costs, we deserve real reform of our justice system. Prop. 66 is not the answer.

“Instead of reckless, costly changes to our prison system, we need smart investments that are proven to reduce crime and serve victims.”—Dionne Wilson, widow of police officer killed in the line of duty.


California’s Death Row prison, 1999–2004

FRANCISCO CARRILLO JR., Innocent man wrongfully convicted in Los Angeles County

City of Los Angeles, 2005–2013 

— Secretary of State Voter Info Guide

Replies to Arguments FOR

Prop. 66 is a poorly-written and COSTLY EXPERIMENT that would INCREASE CALIFORNIA’S RISK OF EXECUTING AN INNOCENT PERSON, add new layers of government bureaucracy and create even more legal delays in death penalty cases.

**Read the measure for yourself: According to the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, this measure could cost taxpayers TENS of MILLIONS of DOLLARS.

Prop. 66 is not real reform. Here’s what EXPERTS SAY Prop. 66 WOULD ACTUALLY DO:

  • INCREASE the chance that California executes an innocent person
  • INCREASE TAXPAYER FUNDED legal defense for death row inmates
  • REQUIRE the state to hire and pay for hundreds of new lawyers 
  • CLOG county courts, forcing death penalty cases on inexperienced judges Lead to EXPENSIVE LITIGATION by lawyers who will challenge a series of confusing provisions

Prop. 66 is a perfect example of SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS abusing their power and pushing an agenda while claiming to seek reform. Look who’s behind Prop. 66: the prison guards’ union which has an interest in funneling more money into the prison system and opportunistic politicians using the initiative to advance their careers.

Experts agree: Prop. 66 is a POORLY WRITTEN, CONFUSING initiative that will only add MORE DELAY and MORE COSTS to California’s death penalty.

Remember, MORE THAN 150 INNOCENT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SENTENCED TO DEATH, and some have been executed because of poorly written laws like this.

Californians deserve real reform. Prop. 66 is not the answer.


GIL GARCETTI, District Attorney
Los Angeles County, 1992–2000

Santa Clara County Superior Court

League of Women Voters of California 

— Secretary of State Voter Info Guide

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Proposition 66 was carefully written by California’s leading criminal prosecutors, the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation and other top legal experts—people who know from experience what’s needed to MEND, NOT END our state’s broken death penalty system.

The anti-death penalty extremists opposing Proposition 66 know it fixes the system, and will say anything to defeat it.

Don’t be fooled.

Proposition 66 reforms the death penalty so the system is fair to both defendants and the families of victims. Defendants now wait five years just to be assigned a lawyer, delaying justice, hurting their appeals, and preventing closure for the victims’ families. Proposition 66 fixes this by streamlining the process to ensure justice for all.

Under the current system, California’s most brutal killers— serial killers, mass murderers, child killers, and murderers who rape and torture their victims—linger on death row until they die of old age, with taxpayers paying for their meals, healthcare, privileges and endless legal appeals.

By reforming the system, Proposition 66 will save taxpayers over $30 million a year, according to former California Finance Director Mike Genest.Instead of dragging on for decades and costing millions, death row killers will have five to ten years to have their appeals heard, ample time to ensure justice is evenly applied while guaranteeing that no innocent person is wrongly executed.

Ensure justice by voting “YES” on Proposition 66—to MEND, NOT END the death penalty.

Learn more at

ANNE MARIE SCHUBERT, District Attorney of Sacramento County

SANDY FRIEND, Mother of Murder Victim

California Correctional Peace Officers Association

— Secretary of State Voter Info Guide

Who supports or opposes this measure?

Who gave money?


Yes on Prop. 66

Total money raised: $13,301,950
Bar graph showing total amount relative to total amount for this entire campaign.

No on Prop. 66

Total money raised: $17,836,932
Bar graph showing total amount relative to total amount for this entire campaign.

Below are the top 10 contributors that gave money to committees supporting or opposing the ballot measures.

Yes on Prop. 66

Peace Officers Research Association of California
California Association of Highway Patrolmen
Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs
Nicholas III, Henry T.
Motamedi, Julie
San Francisco Police Officers Association
San Bernardino County Safety Employees Benefit Association
Association of Deputy District Attorneys - Los Angeles
California Correctional Peace Officers Association
Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association

No on Prop. 66

Fund for Policy Reform
Steyer, Thomas
McKeown, Nicholas
Hastings, Reed
Open Society Foundations
Emerson Collective
Doerr, L. John
Graham, Paul
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Nextgen Climate

More information about contributions

Yes on Prop. 66

By State:

California 99.95%
Arizona 0.04%
Maryland 0.01%

By Size:

Large contributions (92.14%)
Small contributions (7.86%)

By Type:

From organizations (23.62%)
From individuals (76.38%)

No on Prop. 66

By State:

California 57.50%
Delaware 34.68%
District of Columbia 5.67%
New York 0.88%
Other 1.28%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.27%)
Small contributions (0.73%)

By Type:

From organizations (54.02%)
From individuals (45.98%)

More information

Videos (3)

— October 18, 2016 The Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College
— October 22, 2016 Sacramento State University
Sacramento State College’s Project for an Informed Electorate provides non-partisan videos on California’s ballot Propositions. Each video includes an appearance by a representative from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO). The LAO writes the state’s impartial analysis on each Proposition.

Contact Info

Yes on Prop. 66
Kermit Alexander Californians for Death Penalty Reform and Savings
Phone: (800) 372-6417
520 Capitol Mall
Ste. 630
Sacramento, CA 95814
No on Prop. 66
No on 66—Californians for Fair Justice
39 Drumm St.
San Francisco, CA 94111
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