Patt Morrison for February 17, 2012

Ron Briggs, longtime champion of the death penalty, reverses course

Death Chamber at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility

Mike Simons/Getty Images

A view of the death chamber from the witness room at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility shows an electric chair and gurney August 29, 2001 in Lucasville, Ohio.

Even if you support the death penalty, it’s not working, and if you oppose it, then it never should work. In 1978, California voters passed the Briggs Death Penalty Initiative, which expanded the use of, and eligibility for, the state’s death penalty. The Briggs family argued the initiative would allow for swift, just punishment for crimes of murder. But today, California’s death row has ballooned to more than seven hundred prisoners, more than any other state. The state has also only executed thirteen convicted murderers since the initiative passed over thirty year ago. Now, Ron Briggs, who campaigned along with his father Senator John Briggs and brother-in-law to pass the initiative, admits it was flawed. He’s trying to replace the death penalty in the state with life in prison, without parole. Patt talks to him about his change of heart and what he learned from his father’s career.


Do you support the death penalty?


Ron Briggs, member of the Board of Supervisors in El Dorado County (4th District) CA; co-sponsor, along with his father, former State Senator John Briggs, of the 1978 Briggs Death Penalty Initiative

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