NEW VOICES: Former Los Angeles D.A. States "California's Death Penalty Doesn't Serve Justice"

Gil Garcetti, the former district attorney of Los Angeles who pursued numerous death sentences, recently said California’s death penalty is dysfunctional and the resources spent on it should be diverted to more pressing needs. In an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, Garcetti said the death penalty causes ongoing torment to family members and friends of murder victims: “The living victims of a particular crime might think that a death verdict provides closure, but for most, there was no such closure.” Garcetti said state funds spent on implementing the death penalty can be better used elsewhere: “California’s death penalty does not and cannot function the way its supporters want it to. It is also an incredibly costly penalty, and the money would be far better spent keeping kids in school, keeping teachers and counselors in their schools and giving the juvenile justice system the resources it needs. Spending our tax dollars on actually preventing crimes, instead of pursuing death sentences after they’ve already been committed, will assure us we will have fewer victims … .”

Gil Garcetti was district attorney of Los Angeles County from 1992 to 2000. This op-ed is a response to a March 25 Times Op-Ed article on California’s death penalty.

(G. Garcetti, “California’s Death Penalty Doesn’t Serve Justice,” Los Angeles Times, March 25, 2011). Read Editorials on the death penalty. See Costs and Victims.