RivCo District Attorney Fighting Efforts To Declare Death Penalty Unconstitutional In CA

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office is opposed to efforts of the Office of the State Public Defender and the ACLU to declare the death penalty unconstitutional in California.  This stance was taken in response to the ongoing case, Office of the State Public Defender v. Bonta, currently under consideration by the California Supreme Court.

On May 6th 2024, the D-A’s Office filed a preliminary opposition to the petition by the Office State Public Defender and the ACLU.

The Statement from Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin:

“The claims put forth by the Public Defender’s Office and the ACLU regarding racial disparities in California’s death penalty sentences are based on unreliable statistics and demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of our criminal justice system,”

 “Despite their unfounded accusations, our decisions are guided solely by the facts and evidence of each case, not by race. The petitioners are disregarding both the California Constitution and the rights of victims in their pursuit of a narrow agenda. We trust that the Supreme Court will swiftly reject this politically motivated abuse of the judicial process.”

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office has identified more than a dozen significant legal and factual flaws in the lawsuit and contends that it is an attempt to circumvent the will of California voters.

In 2016, California voters rejected Proposition 62, which aimed to repeal the death penalty. That same year, voters approved Proposition 66, which introduced several measures to expedite the processing of death row cases.

The petition, if granted, would nullify more than 600 death sentences rendered by juries and confirmed by judges across California. The Riverside County DA’s Office is requesting that the California Supreme Court deny this petition. As stated in the preliminary opposition filed by the DA’s Office: “There is nothing proper or legal about this petition. This court should put a stop to this improper political maneuver and misuse of the judicial process.”

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office urges the public and the media to closely scrutinize this improper effort to declare the death penalty unconstitutional and to support efforts that uphold the rule of law. 

Since March of 2019, there has been a moratorium on the death penalty in California.

It was imposed by Governor Gavin Newsom.


FILE – This March 2019, file photo, provided by the South Carolina Department of Corrections shows the state’s electric chair in Columbia, S.C. Two South Carolina inmates scheduled to die want an appellate court to halt their deaths by electrocution. On Monday, June 14, 2021, Brad Sigmon and Freddie Owens filed a notice of appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. (Kinard Lisbon/South Carolina Department of Corrections via AP, File) used locally May 14th 2024