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Thread: Gov Schwarzenegger Signs "Chelsea's Law" (Life Sentence For Violent Sex Offenders)

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    Elite Member MrsMarsters's Avatar
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    Default Gov Schwarzenegger Signs "Chelsea's Law" (Life Sentence For Violent Sex Offenders)

    Chelsea's Law calls for mandatory life sentences without parole for violent sex crimes against children.

    SAN DIEGO -- Convicted child molesters in California now face life in prison after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed "Chelsea's Law" Thursday.

    The Governor was joined by Chelsea's parents, Brent and Kelly King, as he signed the new law during a ceremony in Balboa Park.

    The measure, named for slain Poway High School senior Chelsea King, calls for mandatory life sentences without parole for violent sex crimes against children.

    It also tightens sex offense parole guidelines and requires lifelong tracking of certain sex offenders.

    The state Senate passed "Chelsea's Law" on a unanimous vote.

    Chelsea King was raped and murdered earlier this year by registered sex offender John Gardner who also admitted killing 14-year-old Amber Dubois.

    The new law will lock up first time convicted child molesters for life and ban registered sex offenders from public parks.

    Assembly Bill 1844 will:

    - Impose a life sentence without the possibility of parole for those convicted of a violent sexual crime against a child under the age of 14.

    - Impose a sentence of 25-years-to-life for other forcible sex crimes, depending on the circumstances.

    - Require habitual sex offenders to be tracked with a GPS for life.

    - Ban sex offenders on parole from public parks. The ban will be lifted once they are released from parole.

    - Implement a "containment model" strategy that involves more costly treatment, intensive monitoring, and polygraph tests to reduce recidivism.

    Chelsea's Law: Chelsea's Law Signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger - ktla.com

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    Gold Member philbert_wormly's Avatar
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    This is a good deal!

    Maybe one day such a thing as this will be nationwide.

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    Elite Member JadeStar70's Avatar
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    I think this is a great idea, but why pay to house them for life? Put them in an orderly line for the death penalty, and be done with them. That way you know for sure they will never hurt another child again.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    ^^^
    it actually costs more, way more, to kill someone than it does to keep them in prison for life.
    it's funny how, no matter how many times you mention that, people keep bringing up the 'paying to house them for life' argument...

    To execute or not: A question of cost?

    States discover it's cheaper to imprison killers for life than to execute them


    Pat Sullivan / AP file A microphone hangs over the gurney in the Texas death house in Huntsville. In hard economic times, more states say it costs more to execute killers than to imprison them for life.


    updated 3/7/2009 4:35:06 AM ET
    After decades of moral arguments reaching biblical proportions, after long, twisted journeys to the nation's highest court and back, the death penalty may be abandoned by several states for a reason having nothing to do with right or wrong:
    Money.
    Turns out, it is cheaper to imprison killers for life than to execute them, according to a series of recent surveys. Tens of millions of dollars cheaper, politicians are learning, during a tumbling recession when nearly every state faces job cuts and massive deficits.
    So an increasing number of them are considering abolishing capital punishment in favor of life imprisonment, not on principle but out of financial necessity.
    "It's 10 times more expensive to kill them than to keep them alive," though most Americans believe the opposite, said Donald McCartin, a former California jurist known as "The Hanging Judge of Orange County" for sending nine men to death row.
    Deep into retirement, he lost his faith in an eye for an eye and now speaks against it. What changed a mind so set on the ultimate punishment?
    'Waste of time and money'
    California's legendarily slow appeals system, which produces an average wait of nearly 20 years from conviction to fatal injection — the longest in the nation. Of the nine convicted killers McCartin sent to death row, only one has died. Not by execution, but from a heart attack in custody.
    Story continues below More below
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    "Every one of my cases is bogged up in the appellate system," said McCartin, who retired in 1993 after 15 years on the bench.
    "It's a waste of time and money," said the 82-year-old, self-described right-wing Republican whose sonorous voice still commands attention. "The only thing it does is prolong the agony of the victims' families."
    In 2007, time and money were the reasons New Jersey became the first state to ban executions since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
    Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine commuted the executions of 10 men to life imprisonment without parole. Legal costs were too great and produced no result, lawmakers said. After spending an estimated $4.2 million for each death sentence, the state had executed no one since 1963. Also, eliminating capital punishment eliminated the risk of executing an innocent person.
    Out of 36 remaining states with the death penalty, at least eight have considered legislation this year to end it — Maryland, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, New Hampshire, Washington and Kansas — an uncommon marriage between eastern liberals and western conservatives, built on economic hardship.
    "This is the first time in which cost has been the prevalent issue in discussing the death penalty," said Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a data clearinghouse that favors abolition of capital punishment.
    DNA evidence
    The most recent arguments against it centered on the ever-increasing number of convicts cleared by DNA evidence.
    Some of the worst cases occurred in Illinois. In 2000, then-Gov. George H. Ryan placed a moratorium on executions after 13 people had been exonerated from death row for reasons including genetic testing and recanted testimony. Ryan declared the system "so fraught with error that it has come close to the ultimate nightmare, the state's taking of innocent life."

    He commuted the sentences of all 167 death row convicts, most to life imprisonment without parole. His moratorium is still in effect.
    Across the country, the number of prisoners exonerated and released from death row is more than 130, with thousands of appeals clogging the courts.
    Death penalty trials are more expensive for several reasons: They often require extra lawyers; there are strict experience requirements for attorneys, leading to lengthy appellate waits while capable counsel is sought for the accused; security costs are higher, as well as costs for processing evidence — DNA testing, for example, is far more expensive than simple blood analyses.
    After sentencing, prices continue to rise. It costs more to house death row inmates, who are held in segregated sections, in individual cells, with guards delivering everything from daily meals to toilet paper.

    In California, home to the nation's biggest death row population at 667, it costs an extra $90,000 per inmate to imprison someone sentenced to death — an additional expense that totals more than $63.3 million annually, according to a 2008 study by the state's Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice.
    The panel, which agreed with California Chief Justice Ronald M. George that the state's death penalty system was "dysfunctional," blamed exorbitant costs on delays in finding qualified public defenders, a severe backlog in appellate reviews, and a high rate of cases being overturned on constitutional grounds.
    "Failures in the administration of California's death penalty law create cynicism and disrespect for the rule of law," concluded the 117-page report.
    Some prominent Californians have asked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to get rid of executions. Especially now, as service cuts and tax increases are pegged to fill a $42 billion budget hole. But it appears that the Republican governor will not abandon capital punishment anytime soon.
    Meanwhile, the nationwide number of death sentences handed down has declined over the past decade, from 284 in 1999 to 111 in 2008. Reasons differ significantly, depending on who's providing them: Pro-death penalty activists say it's because crime rates have declined and execution is a strong deterrent; abolitionists say it's because jurors and judges are reluctant to risk taking a life when future scientific tests could prove the accused not guilty.
    Executions, too, are dropping. There were 98 in 1999; 37 in 2008.
    Still, the costs of capital punishment weigh heavily on legislators facing Solomon-like choices in these dismal economic times.
    In Kansas, Republican state Sen. Caroline McGinn is pushing a bill that would repeal the death penalty effective July 1. Kansas, which voted to suspend tax refunds, faces a budget deficit of nearly $200 million. McGinn urged fellow legislators "to think outside the box" for ways to save money. According to a state survey, capital cases were 70 percent more expensive than comparable non-death penalty cases.
    In New Mexico, Gov. Bill Richardson recently said his longtime support of capital punishment was wavering — and belt-tightening was one the reasons. As the state tries to plug a $450 million budget shortfall with cuts to schools and environmental agencies, a bill to end executions has already passed the House as a cost-saving measure. The state supreme court has ruled that more money must be given for public defenders in death penalty cases, but legislators have yet to act.
    In Maryland, a 2008 Urban Institute study said taxpayers forked out at least $37.2 million for each of five executions since the death penalty was re-enacted in 1978. The survey, which examined 162 capital cases, found that simply seeking the death penalty added $186 million to prosecution costs. Gov. Martin O'Malley, who disdains the death penalty on moral and financial grounds, is pushing a bill to repeal it.
    'Calculate the cost'
    There are many, of course, who refuse to change their minds, believing execution is the ultimate wage of the ultimate sin. They also say that death penalty cases don't have to be so expensive.
    Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, a pro-capital-punishment group, said, "Having an effective appeals process might very well cost less."

    States "calculate the cost as if these people are going to spend their whole lives on death row. We should be revamping the appeals process so that these cases move more quickly," Scheidegger said.
    But court systems and their costs vary greatly among states, as does the time it takes to exhaust appeals. It's doubtful that change could come quickly enough to generate savings during this roiling recession.
    "It's all about money," said McCartin, the former California judge. "The reasons I changed my mind were between that and how the victims' families just get raped during appeals."
    But if convicted killers get life imprisonment instead of death, is that letting them off easy?
    Not a chance, says 52-year-old Gordon "Randy" Steidl. He lived on death row and then in the general prison population, after his sentence was commuted to life. He preferred his former accommodations.
    Steidl was released in 2004 after being exonerated of the 1986 stabbing deaths of a newlywed couple in Paris, Ill. He had an alibi for the night of the murders, corroborated by others. But he was convicted on eyewitness testimony provided by the town drunk and the town drug addict. Both later recanted.
    The state of Illinois spent $3.5 million trying to execute him, "only to end up giving me a life sentence," Steidl said. "And then 5 1/2 years after that, I was exonerated."
    He spent 12 years in a tiny cell on death row. Then he was thrown into "gen pop," with its snarling mass of an open cellblock, where the prospect of being stabbed, raped or worse loomed constantly, alongside deafening noise and psychotic cell mates.
    "If you really want to kill someone, give them life without parole," Steidl said in an even voice. He speaks of his troubled past as if it was trapped under glass or locked behind bars — visible but no longer able to torture him.
    "It's worse than dying."

    More on death penalty
    Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29552692/
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member JadeStar70's Avatar
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    It wouldn't be cheaper if they would convicted them today, and give them the shot tomorrow. Done deal! A 2 day event and problem solved. But that is just my thoughts on it.

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    as long as they are off the streets for good, i don't care if they get death or life in prison. usually, the other prisoners make a molester's stay a real fun time anyway

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    what angers me is that so often these pieces of shit fall through the cracks somehow; whether its their parole officers or social services workers. someone always fucks up and they end up attacking again even worse!

    ok, i never blame anyone but the offender for their atrocious behavior but it still angers me. its like 9/11 and all the warning signs that were ignored leading up to it.

    also, i believe in just killing them anyways. i dont care the cost. the price is worth it. and yes i live in l.a. and pay so many damn taxes, i'm aware of that.

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    Elite Member Karistiona's Avatar
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    Well this certainly looks like a step in the right direction for California. The GPS tracking thing sounds like a good idea,I wonder how effective it is in practice.
    I smile because I have no idea what's going on

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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    this is a good thing. Chelsea was killed in our county, and the fucking creep that did it, also killed Amber Dubois over a year prior to Chelsea. He also did time for molesting another teen in his home.

    He stayed at his moms house sometimes, and wasn't allowed to be near a school, or parks, yet the park (where Chelsea was raped and murdered) was right in his moms backyard.

    So many screw ups in his case, its just sickening.
    Basic rule of Gossip Rocks: Don't be a dick.Tati
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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JadeStar70 View Post
    It wouldn't be cheaper if they would convicted them today, and give them the shot tomorrow. Done deal! A 2 day event and problem solved. But that is just my thoughts on it.
    yeah, fuck due process, equality before justice, the right to appeal, etc, etc... let's just do it like china and other horribly undemocratic hellholes like somalia and yemen do. i'm sure that's cheaper.
    i think you need to develop your thoughts on the matter a tad further.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member MrsMarsters's Avatar
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    Well I am not sure why I even have to explain this, however these may be the most vile people on the planet but even these assholes have a right to a fair trial...Even if there was a cheaper way to execute these lovely people speeding it up like she mentioned isn't exactly the best idea. I can only imagine how many innocent people would slip through the cracks due to an overworked system.

    What I don't understand is people like him are usually repeat offenders and there typically does not ever seem to be anything done about repeat offenders until they actually kill a child/teen.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    This is a good thing.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member NickiDrea's Avatar
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    I hate to be the kill-joy here, but this law will get overturned at some point, I guarantee you. The first person sentenced to life without parole for a sex crime will challenge this in the appeals court. It may satisfy the public but it is NOT Constitutional. Even murderers (who have committed the most serious crime under the law) are not automatically sentenced to life without parole.

    ETA: I am not saying I agree or disagree with the law. I am just giving my opinion as someone who practices criminal law for a living.
    Posted from my iPhone

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsMarsters View Post
    Well I am not sure why I even have to explain this, however these may be the most vile people on the planet but even these assholes have a right to a fair trial.
    The irony is that in this case there was no trial. He pleaded guilty and confessed to the other killing in exchange for the government's promise not to seek the death penalty. There you go -- your death penalty at work, saving the court system valuable dollars!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by NickiDrea View Post
    I hate to be the kill-joy here, but this law will get overturned at some point, I guarantee you. The first person sentenced to life without parole for a sex crime will challenge this in the appeals court. It may satisfy the public but it is NOT Constitutional. Even murderers (who have committed the most serious crime under the law) are not automatically sentenced to life without parole.
    I seriously doubt it will get overturned. California (and other states) have a three-strikes law that is just as punitive and have withstood constitutional challenges. For example.
    In Rummel v. Estelle (1980), the Supreme Court upheld life with possible parole for a third-strike fraud felony in Texas, which arose from a refusal to repay $120.75 paid for air conditioning repair that was subsequently considered unsatisfactory.
    Think about that, the Supreme Court upheld a sentence of life for not paying $120.75. You think they will have a problem with a life sentence for a violent sexual assault?

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    Elite Member JadeStar70's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    yeah, fuck due process, equality before justice, the right to appeal, etc, etc... let's just do it like china and other horribly undemocratic hellholes like somalia and yemen do. i'm sure that's cheaper.
    i think you need to develop your thoughts on the matter a tad further.
    yea, your right. But I have lived through this in my life with a family member, and at this point in my life, I could care less if perverts get a fair trial or his/her rights are protected. Sorry,...just the way I feel. Not saying it is right, just being honest. I think they should all be locked up for life or executed.

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