Steven Greenhut: A Welcome Softening of California's Tough-on-Crime Approach


California State Govt

Steven Greenhut writes that when he moved to California during the 1998 governor's race, he was shocked. Democrat Gray Davis and Republican Dan Lungren were trying to outdo each other on who would more harshly punish criminals. "(Davis) would give judges discretion to sentence 14-year-olds to death; he would let them consider supporting non-unanimous jury verdicts," reported The New York Times. "He considered Singapore – a country that executes drug offenders – 'a good starting point.'" Sixteen years later, Californians are in the midst of another governor's race, but crime-and-punishment hasn't grabbed much attention, but Greenhut writes that it should: If a piece of legislation titled Proposition 47 passes, it will be another sign that the days are over of winning political points by promising to execute 14-year-olds.