FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from







Mike Farrell Urges California to Declare
Moratorium on Executions

by Dan Bacher
February 9, 2005

Send this page to a friend! (click here)


While all other Western nations have abolished the “outdated, immoral and illegal” practice of Capital Punishment, the U.S continues executing people, said Mike Farrell, former MASH TV star and President of Death Penalty Focus, in Davis recently.

“If killing is wrong, then it is at least as wrong for the state to kill in cold blood,” he said. “It’s a cold, dehumanizing ritual that teaches us that taking life is permissible.”

The U.S. Supreme Court allowed states with newly drafted laws to resume executions in 1976. Thirty-eight states now have death penalties. A total of 877 people have been executed since 1977, when executions resumed.

The nation's largest death row is in California, with 625 condemned inmates. The state has executed 10 people since 1976.

One of the clearest arguments against the death penalty is that many innocent people die in the “death system,” as Farrell describes it. At least six men in California have been sentenced to death that were either acquitted on the charge of murder or had their murder convictions overturned. These include Oscar Lee Morris in 2000, Lee Perry Farmer in 1999, Troy Lee Jones in 1996, Patrick “Hootie” Croy in 1990, and Jerry Bigelow in1988.

Since DNA testing was perfected, there has been a virtual avalanche of exonerations from DNA. In recent years, 117 people have been freed from death row because of advances in DNA testing, according to Farrell.

Racism severely taints the death penalty process. Of those on death row, half are African-American and one-fifth are Latino, with 81 percent of the death row inmates being people of color.

The death penalty is also discriminatory in that only the poor are executed; the rich are able to avoid death row because they have the money for the best lawyers. “It’s not the people who are most guilty, but those have had the worst lawyers that are executed,” said Farrell.

Not only is the death penalty illegal, immoral and discriminatory, but also it takes 2 to 3 times as much public money to maintain people on death row and to execute them as it does to pay for the alternative that Farrell advocates, life without parole. The Sacramento Bee has calculated that California would save $90 million per year by abolishing the death penalty.

One argument given for the death penalty is that the victims “deserve closure.” However, Farrell argues that the death penalty only inflicts the suffering on another family, while never providing closure to the murder victim’s family.

“The death sentence is merely a way to get revenge,” Farrell added, quoting Nelson Mandella, who said that a nation “should not be judged by how it treats its highest, but by how it treats its lowest members of society.”

The U.S. joins Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and other repressive countries in allowing the practice of executing children and the mentally retarded.

Farrell had harsh words for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who refused to heed the pleas of Farrell and other human rights activists to grant clemency to Donald Beardslee, executed at San Quentin in January. “His refusal to grant clemency spells out very clearly his point of view on the death penalty,” he said.

Farrell is urging the California Assembly and Senate to pass legislation this year placing a moratorium on executions. Meanwhile, he is working nationwide to replace the death penalty with a maximum sentence of life without chance of parole.

“Imagine a country that praised the value of every human being and no longer executed people,” said Farrell. “It is a lie that some human beings are inconsequential.” For more information, contact:

Daniel Bacher is an outdoor writer/alternative journalist/satirical songwriter from Sacramento California. He is also a long-time peace, social justice and environmental activist. Email:

Other Articles by Dan Bacher


* Bush Abandons Salmon Restoration
* Fish Restoration Activists Forge Ahead After the Election
* Post-Election Rage
* Protesters Counter Sacramento Appearance by Rudy Giuliani, Bill O’Reilly 
* Federal Judge Says: Let The San Joaquin Flow!
* The American River’s Hidden Fish Kill: 181,000 Salmon Die Before Spawning
* Court Orders Restoration of Trinity River Flows!
* Fasters Win Historic Victory in Struggle for Educational Equality
* Military Court Martial Sentences Camilo Mejia to One Year in Prison
* Modern Day Lysenkoism
* Memorial Wall Commemorates Iraq Dead and Wounded
* Bush Adm. Pulls "Welcome Mat" for Buena Vista Social Club’s Grammy Appearance
* Cold, Dead Fish & Shiny Steelhead Awards For 2003
* Budget Cuts Threaten to Close American River Parkway
* California Ban On GloFish Ignites Debate Over ‘Frankenfish’
* Sacramento City Council Finalizes Adoption of Living Wage Ordinance
* The Invasion of the Killer Mud Snails

* Butte Creek Fish Kill Update: PG&E Pleads Ignorance To Sediment Spill on Spawning Beds
* Sacramento Joins 209 Cities in Opposition To Patriot Act
* Mystery Shrouds Dept. of Fish and Game Director’s Resignation
* Hoopa Tribe, Federal Government Reject Westlands Trinity Proposal
* Federal Government Intervenes in Butte Creek Salmon Disaster
* Thousands of Klamath Fish Die After Power Company Shuts Off Water
* Sacramento Becomes First Inland City In California To Adopt A Living Wage Ordinance
* Department of Interior Launches Investigation Into Klamath Basin Decisions
* Bush Administration Releases Trinity Water in Wake of Iron Gate Scandal
* Hoopa Tribe, Commercial Fishermen Alarmed Over Closed Door Water Accord
* Pastors for Peace Caravan Challenges Cuba Blockade for Fourteenth Time

* Mobilization Activists Blast Sacramento City Council For Suppressing Free Speech
* Yurok Tribe Denounces Water 2025 Conference As A Big Sham
* Butterflies and Farmworkers Versus the USDA and Riot Cops