The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

September 24, 2010
Jerry Brown is not sure how to reduce death row population

If he becomes governor again, Attorney General Jerry Brown said he would have no ready prescription for reducing California's ever-growing population of condemned inmates.

There are 700-plus inmates on death row.

Asked whether the population will continue to grow, Brown said today:

"Unless we can up with some proposals. Do you have ideas? These cases are very difficult. Courts are very careful. I haven't seen too many proposals other than to hire more lawyers and give more money for investigators."

Meg Whitman, Brown's Republican opponent, didn't have much of a solution either, as we noted in this item.

In an appearance before The Bee's editorial board, Brown seemed unaware that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing to build a new death row at San Quentin for $500 million.

Brown is a lifelong death penalty opponent who as governor in 1977 vetoed legislation carried by a Long Beach legislator, George Deukmejian, to reinstate capital punishment after courts had struck down California's death penalty laws.

The Legislature overrode Brown's veto, and voters approved a death penalty initiative in 1978.

Since capital punishment was reinstated, 13 inmates have been executed in California. Many more have died of suicide, drug overdose and natural causes. The longest serving death row inmate arrived at San Quentin at the end of Brown's first term as governor in 1978.

Brown noted that despite his personal views, he is committed to carrying out the death penalty law.

He made his comments in response to questions by The Bee's editorial board, while his deputies were appearing in federal court in an effort to carry out the execution of Albert Greenwood Brown.

Albert Brown is scheduled to be put to death at San Quentin State Prison a minute past midnight on Wednesday, as this article details

Albert Brown has been on death row since Jerry Brown's second term, March 1982.  He was convicted of murdering and raping a 15-year-old gir in Riverside. The 30-year anniversary of the murder will arrive this Oct. 28. His execution would be the first in almost five years in California.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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