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Lawsuit Filed Against California’s Death Penalty Measure Claims It Violates The Constitution

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Aside from deciding to legalize recreational marijuana, voters in California also agreed not to repeal the death penalty by supporting Proposition 66. The win is being opposed however, as a lawsuit has been filed questioning the legality of the measure.

Ron Briggs, a former supervisor of El Dorado County, filed a lawsuit one day after the election, saying, “Proposition 66 violates the constitution by keeping the [state] Supreme Court and the appeals court out of the system.” He adds, “The proponents of Prop 66 put together a pretty shabby initiative.”

Proposition 66 was created to hasten the death penalty in the state, by speeding up normal appeals processes which can normally take up to decades to complete.

Under the proposition, death row inmates would not send their first appeal – a petition for writs of habeas corpus – to a higher court, but to the original judge on the case. All appeals after that would have to be conducted within five years of the original sentencing.

Briggs claims that since the proposition leaves out the higher courts and puts a time limit on appeals, it is a direct violation of those sentenced to die, Fox 40 reports.

Kent Scheidegger, one of the authors of Proposition 66, argues, “They’re making the same argument that they made to the voters and the majority of voters did not accept that.” He adds that he’s not surprised at the lawsuit, since they will stop at nothing. But he says the people have spoken. “I think the people who are opposed to the death penalty should respect the will of the people,” Scheidegger says.

The lawsuit also accuses the authors of Proposition 66 of violating the single subject rule, which states that California ballot propositions can only focus on one major issue at a time – in this case, it was both legalizing recreational pot and the death penalty measure that voters had to decide on.


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