When did Dianne Feinstein start opposing the death penalty?
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein built her very long and successful political career staking out the Democratic party’s moderate turf: For gun control, for the environment, for Obamacare, for the death penalty.
Well, not so much that last bit anymore. Feinstein revealed Wednesday that she’s shed her support for the death penalty “as it exists today.”
“Several years ago I changed my view of the death penalty,” Feinstein said in an emailed statement. “It became crystal clear to me that the risk of unequal application is high and its effect on deterrence is low.”
Feinstein — now facing a primary challenge to her re-election from more liberal Democrats — never trumpeted her flip on the death penalty, which was hotly debated in California just two years ago with dueling ballot initiatives to end executions or hurry them up. Voters in 2016 decisively rejected the initiative to repeal the death penalty and narrowly approved the measure limiting time for appeals to speed the path from Death Row to the execution chamber.
It was unclear when Feinstein came to her change of heart on capital punishment. Her campaign said she shared her evolved viewpoint with California party delegates in a Feb. 19 phone call, and also provided an undated letter she had sent “earlier” to constituents who asked her position.