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Thursday, January 05, 2006

This arrived in today's mailbox ... just maybe ...

CALL TO ACTION
from the OFFICES OF OAKLAND CITY COUNCILMEMBER DESLEY BROOKS


Oakland Councilmember Brooks BACKS two-YEAR Moratorium on State Executions

- CITIZENS URGED to TAKE ACTION -

(Oakland, CA - January 4, 2006) The Oakland City Council voted unanimously to support Assembly Bill 1121 (AB-1121) which would impose a moratorium on carrying out any executions in the State of California until certain criteria are met, or, failing that, until January 1, 2009. The bill also stipulates that the state legislature consider all recommendations of the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice. The resolution was brought before the Council by Councilperson Desley Brooks.

One-hundred-twenty-two (122) people nationwide have been released from death row after being able to establish their factual innocence, six were Californians. Brooks said, “A civilized society should seek to ensure that no innocent person is ever executed, and should the state seek to impose the death penalty we should be absolutely certain that it is not done in an unjust or arbitrary manner.”

Over the last few years, serious concerns have been raised that the death penalty is not being applied fairly or accurately across the board to all death penalty eligible defendants. Many of these concerns have been prompted by revelations that innocent people in California have been convicted of crimes they did not commit, as demonstrated by new DNA technology, by documented racial and geographic disparities in the implementation of capital punishment in California, by erroneous eyewitness and false testimony, by prosecutorial and police misconduct, and by pervasive complaints about ineffectiveness of counsel in death penalty cases.

In late 2004, the California Senate established the bi-partisan California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice (“Commission”) to study and determine the extent to which California’s criminal justice system has failed in the past and why innocent people are being convicted, and sometimes executed, in this state. The Commission is required to make findings and recommendations for reform to the Legislature by no later than December 31, 2007.

Currently, there are 648 inmates on death row in California, more than any other state in the country. AB-1121 was authored by Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-LA) and co-authored by Assemblymembers Sally Lieber and Mervyn Dymally.

The State Legislature is scheduled to vote on this matter early in the 2006 legislative session.

Councilmember Brooks also requests fellow elected officials to bring a support resolution before their respective jurisdictions, and that faith-based leaders forward letters of support to the state legislature.

Putting executions on hold can only happen with your help. Support the "California Moratorium on Executions Act" (AB 1121) by visiting www.aclunc.org, where you can easily and quickly submit a note to Governor Schwarzenegger and your state representatives. You can also stay in the loop by signing up to receive upcoming alerts on this issue.


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