Crime & Justice

Death penalty foes move to block measure in court

File photo of an inmate and correctional officer.
File photo of an inmate and correctional officer.
California Counts

Death penalty opponents are asking the California Supreme Court to block a ballot measure that would speed up executions in California.

Former state Attorney General John Van de Kamp says in a petition filed Wednesday that the death penalty reform measure would create confusion and upheaval in the courts.

Proposition 66 would reform the death penalty by assigning more lawyers to appeals and having trial court judges hear some appeals.

The measure was leading with about 51 percent of support in ballots counted, but was too close to call. A dueling measure to repeal the death penalty failed.

The court petition says the measure will cost more money and limit the ability to mount a proper appeal. 

Supporters of a measure to speed up the death penalty say a lawsuit against the effort is a slap in the face to voters.

The Yes on 66 Campaign said Wednesday that the proposition came about because voters are sick of lawyers constantly undermining the system with lawsuits.

Opponents of the measure asked the California Supreme Court to block it Wednesday.