San Quentin State PrisonBy Staff, October 28, 2002 11:36 PM
Times commentators assess the death penalty and conditions behind bars during a recent visit to San Quentin State Prison, home to California's Death Row.
By Nick Wilson
SAN QUENTIN -- I don't envy the people in positions to make decisions about the death penalty, nor those who carry out the executions that take place in a pale green chamber here in this fortress-like California state prison overlooking San Francisco Bay.
By Lauren Gard
SAN QUENTIN -- The death chamber at San Quentin State Prison was crowded. There were only about 20 visitors here on a recent weekday tour of the premises -- during executions up to 180 witnesses peer into the mint-green, bolt-ridden steel and glass chamber -- yet it was still hard to breathe.
By Lisa White
SAN QUENTIN --- Rolando Cruz talked himself onto death row.
In 1985, Cruz was convicted of the kidnapping, rape, and murder of a ten-year-old girl in Illinois. In the absence of any physical evidence linking him to the crime, Cruz and his alleged accomplice, Alejandro Hernandez, were convicted on the strength of statements they made implicating each other and falsified police testimony. Cruz was exonerated after serving ten years on death row when DNA evidence proved he was not the assailant.
By Roya Aziz
SAN QUENTIN --- The California state prison here is a sprawling complex clearly visible from the San Rafael Bridge and with a spectacular view of the Bay Area, but the lives of the men inside the penitentiary, and the execution of its death row inmates, are largely absent from the public's consciousness.