January 9, 2008

Historic hearings to commence on Calif. death penalty

Amid renewed national controversy over capital punishment, the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice is holding public hearings beginning tomorrow on the death penalty in California. At the first hearing, a lineup of luminaries will present evidence about racial, ethnic, and geographic disparities in who is sentenced to die.

The Commission was created by the state Senate in 2004 to investigate the causes of wrongful conviction and wrongful executions, and to recommend reforms to make California's criminal justice system "just, fair, and accurate." Composed of law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and citizens, the Commission has already issued a series of unanimous recommendations on other criminal justice issues, including:

(Click on any of the above links to see the related report.) A press release about the death penalty hearings, slated for January, February and March, is here.