Bryan Cranston Explains How to Vote on California's Confusing Death Penalty Measures (Q&A)

Bryan Cranston - MPTF's 95th anniversary celebration -Getty-H 2016
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"It would eliminate the horror of mistakenly putting an innocent person to death," the actor says of California Prop 62.

There are two death penalty initiatives on the ballot: Prop 62, which would end the practice, and Prop 66, which essentially would fast-track it, shortening the time inmates have to appeal. 

If both propositions pass, the one that receives the most "Yes" votes will become law. 

Actor Bryan Cranston has been a vocal proponent of Prop 62, so The Hollywood Reporter asked him to explain his stance on the two competing bills.

Why do you support Proposition 62?

Since the discovery and acceptance of DNA technology in criminal prosecution, several prisoners — each and every year — on death row have been scientifically proven to be innocent and given their freedom. Proposition 62 would eliminate the horror of mistakenly putting an innocent person to death. Prop 62 would make the severest penalty for those found guilty to be life in prison without the possibility of parole. Furthermore, Prop 62 has a provision that makes prisoners pay restitution to their victims. And finally, Prop 62 would save the state of California millions of dollars each year! That's right. Voting Yes on 62 would save taxpayers millions!

Why is this an issue people in Hollywood should care about?

It's not just an issue that should concern the Hollywood community, but that should concern all Californians. There are no take-backs when it comes to human life.

What's your stance on Proposition 66?

Proposition 66 was drafted to limit the appeals process in death penalty cases to a maximum of five years. What this provision would do if passed by the voters is hasten the culling of prisoners on death row. It would literally be a grave mistake in my opinion. It not only limits due process under the law for appeals, it does nothing to protect against the worst injustice imaginable: the very real possibility of sending a wrongly convicted person to his or her death. 

Is there anything else concerning California's death penalty that you feel is important for voters to think about?

Yes. It's critical for voters to avoid confusion on the two propositions that deal with the death penalty. Vote NO on 66 — 62 is the one for YOU!

A version of this story first appeared in the Nov. 11 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.