The Los Angeles Times reprises its role as death penalty opponent. It editorializes in support of an original writ petition filed in the Supreme Court a month ago (Office of the State Public Defender v. Bonta) that claims the State’s death penalty system, because it is “administered in a racially discriminatory manner,” violates the State Constitution’s equal protection provisions.

The Times writes that “Evidence and experience show racial bias at play at every level of the criminal justice system, from arrest to jury selection to verdict” and that “[t]he disparities are particularly glaring in death sentences.” “But,” the editorial board says, “in a sense, that’s all beside the point,” because, even without bias, “the death penalty would still be wrong.”

The editorial concludes, “The petitioners who cite racism in California death sentences are correct, and they deserve credit for identifying an angle of attack that not only is righteous but also just may work. The tragedy is that it’s necessary for them to do it. The death penalty is morally repugnant and manifestly unjust, even without the long and ample record of racism in its application.”


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