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Death Penalty Is Considered A Boon By Some California Inmates

Publication Date: 
November 11, 2009
Los Angeles Times
Carol J. Williams

Kara Dansky, executive director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center, commented on a new development where some California inmates are asking for death row sentences over life in prison due to "better" accommodations. The LA Times published this story:

White supremacist gang hit man Billy Joe Johnson got what he asked for from the Orange County jury that convicted him of first-degree murder last month: a death sentence.

It wasn't remorse for his crimes or a desire for atonement that drove him to ask for execution; it was the expectation that conditions on death row would be more comfortable than in other maximum-security prisons and that any date with the executioner would be decades away if it came at all.


"If you accept the premise that the death penalty is about retribution, about punishing someone for intolerable acts, you might argue that it is completely inappropriate to grant someone's request to have a death penalty imposed because it is more suitable or convenient for him," said Kara Dansky, executive director of the Criminal Justice Center at Stanford University. "It does seem to weaken the position of those who say the death penalty is a justified mode of punishment."