EXECUTING THE WILL OF THE VOTERS?: A ROADMAP TO MEND OR END THE CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE’S MULTI-BILLION-DOLLAR DEATH PENALTY DEBACLE

by Judge Arthur L. Alarcón* & Paula M. Mitchell** * Senior Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Over the course of his legal career, he has participated in every aspect of death penalty cases. As a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney, he prosecuted persons accused of first degree murder in which the death penalty was sought. As the Legal Advisor to Governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, he was responsible for conducting investigations to assist the Governor in deciding whether to grant a commutation of the sentence of death row inmates to life imprisonment. As Chairman of the Adult Authority (California Parole Board for Adult Men), he reviewed applications for release on parole from prisoners convicted of murder in the first degree and other felonies. As a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, he presided over first degree murder trials in which the prosecution sought the death penalty. As an Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal, he reviewed judgments of trial courts in first degree murder cases of prisoners who were sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. As a member of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, he has reviewed decisions of federal district courts that granted or denied the habeas corpus petitions of California death row inmates. ** Adjunct Professor of Law, Loyola Law School Los Angeles, Habeas Corpus and Prisoner Civil Rights Litigation; J.D., 2002, Loyola Law School Los Angeles; M.A., 1989, The London School of Economics and Political Science; B.A., 1987, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has practiced in major law firms in both New York and Los Angeles, focusing on high-stakes litigation and appeals, in both federal and state courts. As a law clerk for Senior Judge Arthur L. Alarcón, she has reviewed numerous §2254(a) habeas corpus petitions filed by California state prisoners in the Eastern District of California, and has participated in the appellate review of matters pending before the Third, Fourth, Sixth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits. She would like to thank Elizaveta Kabanova, Molly Karlin, Kathryn Lohmeyer, and Tara Mitcheltree, for their energetic, thoughtful, and conscientious contributions to the research and preparation of this Article. Please see the link for the entire law review article in PDF format: http://llr.lls.edu/docs/44-SIalarcon.pdf

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EXECUTING THE WILL OF THE VOTERS?: A ROADMAP TO MEND OR END THE CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE’S MULTI-BILLION-DOLLAR DEATH PENALTY DEBACLE