Sunday, November 29, 2009

Death Row Expansion Halted!

California Treasurer Bill Lockyer is halting the issuance of bonds to pay for the Death Row expansion endorsed earlier this year by Governor Schwarzenegger. The delay is due to the efforts of Assemblyman Jared Huffman and Senator Mark Leno. The Marin Independent Journal reports:

Huffman and Leno. . . sent a letter to Lockyer on Wednesday asserting that sale of the bonds would be illegal until resolution of litigation challenging Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of budget language on conditions for financing of the project.

The language prohibited issuance of bonds until the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation determined that it could lawfully double-cell condemned inmates; federal court litigation on prison overcrowding currently before a three-judge panel was resolved; and the correction department completed California Environmental Quality Act analyses for any modifications to the project.

Huffman said the governor had no authority to use the line-item veto on policy language.

This delay may be good news for death penalty activists, but its long term impact on the death penalty will depend, to a large extent, on the next administration and on the 2010 elections.

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