The California Commission of the Fair Administration of Justice (CCFAJ), chaired by former State Attorney General John Van De Kamp, released its final report today. The CCFAJ was instituted by the State Senate in August 2004 “to study and review the administration of criminal justice in California to determine the extent to which that process has failed in the past, resulting in wrongful executions or the wrongful conviction of innocent persons.”
The commission’s final report states that the state’s system of administering death penalty cases is “dysfunctional” and “close to collapse” and estimates that well over $100 million is spent each year moving death penalty cases and appeals through the judicial system. The length of time between sentence and execution of the death penalty “averages over two decades.” (The national average is 12 years.)
A new survey from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life is out, and it contains some fascinating polling about Californians and their positions on religious questions and on the place of religion in private and public life. Some of the results:
- 62% of Californians say that their belief in God or a higher power is absolutely certain (compared with 71% nationally); 22% say that their belief is fairly certain.
- 48% of Californians say that religion is a very important part of their lives (56% nationally). 28% say that it is somewhat important.
- 24% of Californians believe that scripture is the Word of God and is literally true (33% nationally).
- 24% of Californians believe that there is only one true way to interpret the teachings of their religion (27% nationally).
- 23% of Californians believe that their religion is the one true faith leading to eternal life (24% nationally); 67% believe that many religions can lead to eternal life (70% nationally).
The main survey results page (along with resources and maps) is here. Polling questions and data are here.
A recent Field Poll shows that most Californian registered voters prefer that the state budget deficit be solved with spending cuts rather than tax increases. 63% prefer spending cuts; 26% prefer tax increases. But the poll points out that no matter how voters feel about tax increases, 81% feel that taxes will eventually have to be increased to deal with the budget deficit.
The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law recently released an analysis which estimates that the economic benefit to state and local government revenues from extending marriage to include same-sex couples would be $63.8 million over 3 years. The analysis is based on the estimated number of same-sex couples who would be expected to marry in California; the increase in tax revenues from same-sex wedding tourism; and the increase in revenue from marriage license fees. (The analysis does not include the revenue that would be generated by same-sex couples having their marriage ceremonies performed by the county clerk’s office in which they obtain their licenses.)