Attorney General Releases Guide to Capital Case Process

Handbook Created to Inform the Public About the Death Penalty Appeals Process

Thursday, December 28, 2000
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced the creation of a new informational guide to the death penalty appeals process.

The Attorney General's Office of Victims' Services prepared this handbook, A Victim's Guide to the Capital Case Process, in order to give victims, and the public, a comprehensive and understandable guide to the death penalty appellate process. This guide seeks to clearly explain the capital appeals process from the original trial through to the execution.

The capital punishment process can be a lengthy and emotionally trying experience. Nationwide, convicted persons executed in 1999 spent an average of 11 years and 11 months on death row. In California, persons convicted of a death penalty offense can spend as many as 20 years on death row before implementation of their sentence. According to the California Department of Corrections, as of March 2000, there were 565 inmates under a death sentence in California. The California State Supreme Court has affirmed 188 of those sentences. Among other things, the death penalty appeals process is a lengthy one due to constitutional safeguards guaranteed each inmate. These delays often cause frustration for surviving victims and their families.

"The death penalty appeals process can be a harrowing experience for surviving victims and their families," the Attorney General said. "I hope that this guide will help inform victims about the death penalty and lift the veil of mystery that sometimes obscures the appeals process."

If you would like more information about the death penalty process or other information pertaining to victim assistance, please contact the Office of Victims' Services at 1-877-433-9069. To obtain a copy of this brochure, the public can also write to the Attorney General's Office, 1300 I Street, Suite 1740, Sacramento, California, 95814, Attn: Victim's Capital Case Process Guide. Copies of the guide are being mailed to victim advocacy organizations, government agencies and more than 150 identified surviving victims and family members of killers on California's death row.

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