The Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Association Executive Board voted Thursday to join “Californians for Justice and Public Safety,” in opposing the November state ballot initiative to abolish California’s death penalty.
RCDDAA Vice President and Senior Deputy District Attorney Michael Hestrin also signed on to lead opposition efforts in Riverside County.
“Abolishing the death penalty is not only dangerous to the citizens of Riverside County and California, but it also will drive up prison costs at a time when California is facing a severe budget shortage,” Hestrin stated. “This initiative is an attempt by the ACLU to hijack our criminal justice system and curtail the rights of victims.”
As of May 2012, there are 725 murderers on death row. Of those, 126 involved torture before murder, 173 killed children, and 44 murdered police officers.
According to estimates by Californians for Justice and Public Safety, the repeal could result in an additional $600 million in housing costs and nearly $300 million in increased health care costs for inmates.
In 2009, Hestrin prosecuted Raymond Lee Oyler, who is on death row following the arson-murder of five firefighters during the 2006 Esperanza fire.
More recently, Hestrin, along with RCDDAA President and Senior Deputy District Attorney John Aki, obtained a death penalty verdict in the trial of Earl Ellis Green, who murdered Riverside Police Officer Ryan Bonaminio in 2010.
Hestrin has successfully prosecuted seven death penalty cases and has six convicted murderers awaiting execution. The California District Attorneys Association named Hestrin Prosecutor of the Year in 2010.
“Today, we as prosecutors have taken a stand against the ACLU’s desire to protect the murderers of our police officers, firefighters, and children. We unite with law enforcement to stand up for victims and keep California a safe place to live,” Hestrin concluded.