Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

DA Michael Ramos - Don’t abolish death penalty, make the system work

Don’t abolish death penalty, make the system work: Michael A. Ramos

By Michael A. Ramos

Posted: 08/23/16, 8:37 AM PDT | Updated: 4 days ago 


 In this Oct. 30, 2015 file photo, Marc Klaas, far left at podium, father of Polly Klaas, who was kidnapped and slain in 1993; Scott Jones, Sacramento County sheriff; L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Sheriff Jim McDonnel join other victims' rights advocates, community leaders, and elected officials to announce efforts to place an initiative on the 2016 ballot to streamline the death penalty in California. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Seven hundred forty-three criminals sit on California’s death row. Prisoners like Randy Kraft who sexually assaulted, tortured and murdered 16 young men between 1972-1983 or Dennis Stanworth, who was convicted of raping and murdering two girls and was sentenced to death in 1966 for the heinous crimes he committed.

California’s Supreme Court set aside Stanworth’s death sentence in 1972 after the California Supreme Court ruled that capital punishment was unconstitutional. So, instead they gave this brutal killer life in prison with the possibility of parole. In 1990, he was paroled and by 2013 he killed again — this time his elderly mother.

And who could forget Richard Allen Davis? A career criminal who was three months out of prison and “rehabilitated” only to end up raping and killing 12-year-old Polly Klaas. Davis has now been sitting on death row for 17 years — at taxpayer’s expense.

Inmates on California’s death row include notorious serial killers, cop killers, child killers and rape/torture murderers. Many of these individuals have been on death row since the 1980s and have used endless appeals, spread out over years and years to delay justice. Families of murder victims should not have to wait decades for justice. Hundreds of killers have sat on death row for more than 20 years forcing taxpayers to fund their meals, clothing, housing and health care. This is unacceptable.

Proposition 62 will abolish the death penalty altogether and instead give killers already on death row, and future killers, a life sentence. This is the wrong tact to take. Prop 62 means these murderers will live the rest of their lives at taxpayers’ expense, long after their victims are gone. Instead, a more prudent move is to reform the death penalty by mending what’s broken. The current system is out of balance, we need to restore the balance between the rights of defendants and the need to provide justice and closure for the families of victims and protect society. Voting no on Prop. 62 and voting Yes on Proposition 66 is the answer. Prop. 66 speeds up the appeals process by eliminating legal and procedural delaying tactics while assuring due process protections for those sentenced to death.

Death penalty opponents like to point out the possibility of persons wrongly convicted of capital offenses and sentenced to death being executed. The fact is there is not a single documented case of this ever taking place in California due to the expertise and painstaking quality of investigation and prosecutorial work that has gone into death penalty cases. Prop. 66 ensures that all appeals are heard within five years and no innocent person is executed. In addition, convicts on death row would lose various special privileges they enjoy and will be required to pay restitution to victims’ families out of their prison work pay.

No on Prop. 62 and yes on Prop. 66 is supported by hundreds of district attorneys, sheriffs, law enforcement organizations, elected officials and victims’ right advocates and community leaders. They all joined forces to ensure that the worst of the worst killers receive the strongest sentence to help bring closure to families while saving California taxpayers millions of dollars every year.

California’s death row inmates have murdered more than a thousand victims, including 226 children and 43 police officers; 294 victims were raped and/or tortured. It’s time California reformed our death penalty process so it works.

We urge a no vote on Proposition 62 and yes on Proposition 66.

Michael A. Ramos is San Bernardino County district attorney.


“In sorrow, we mourn those lost. In gratitude, we embrace those around us. In sympathy, we reach out to those who grieve.”

            On this date, August 31, 1984, Kermit Alexander’s mother, sister and two nephews, ages 8 and 13, were murdered in South Central Los Angeles during a home invasion by members of the Rollin 60’s Neighborhood Crips, whose intended victims lived two doors away.

            To Kermit and Tami Alexander, we will not forget your loved ones who were slain. We will support you by endorsing ‘Californians for Death Penalty Reform and Savings’. 

            We will remember your loved ones every year on August 31 and we will pray that California will fix the death penalty

Tuesday, August 30, 2016



'Grim Sleeper' Trial: Victims' Families Shed Tears, Pray Following Guilty Verdict

Family members of victims in the Grim Sleeper serial killings shed tears and came together in prayer outside a Los Angeles courtroom after the man charged in the slayings was found guilty Thursday on 10 counts of murder, bringing some measure of closure.

"It's a big day today that the jury came in and rendered a verdict - guilty. It's a great relief to have heard that," said Porter Alexander, the father of Alicia "Monique" Alexander, who was found dead in an alley at 18 in 1988.

"He took my baby," he said as he struggled to hold back tears. "From day one she was with me until he took her, my baby."

Lonnie David Franklin Jr., a 63-year-old former trash collector and mechanic for the LAPD, was convicted of killing nine women and a teen girl over a 22-year period, dumping their bodies in alleys and trash bins around South Los Angeles.

"It's closure," said Irene Ephriam, the niece of Henrietta Wright, shot twice in the chest and found dead in an alley in 1986. "We needed this, and it hurted (sic) our family to lose her. It kind of destroyed us - she had five kids."

For Samara Herard, the sister of 15-year-old Princess Berthomieux, discovered strangled in an alley in 2002, the pain of losing a loved one brought her close to others grieving a loss.

"We are a family now, because we're tied together, because we went through this together," Herard said. "We care about each other's family members, because we share a similar core of pain, the pain of losing someone who didn't deserve to be lost."

Outside the courtroom, the families bowed their heads and prayed. They gave thanks for the beginning of closure and healing of a case that spanned more than two decades.

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Franklin. The penalty phase begins May 12.

"What goes around, came around and now it's his turn," Alexander said. "He was the judge and executioner. He judged my daughter in the sense of what he felt when he took her life. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."