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Kamala Harris is taking a lot of heat from former supporters for not seeking the death penalty in the Espinoza case ["Under Pressure," April 21]. But she has exercised wise discretion and no small amount of courage. As one who spent considerable time preparing and trying death penalty cases, I can attest to the enormous drain on resources they require, only rarely to result in a capital verdict. Defense attorneys legitimately seek continuances in order to provide adequate defenses, requisition large amounts of public funds, and years later secure settlements or verdicts for life imprisonment. In San Francisco, juries are entirely unlikely to return a death verdict even in the most egregious case. While the Espinoza killing is tragic and shocking, there have been other death cases more gruesome in recent years, none of which resulted in a capital sentence. Justice can be served in another way. Jeff Brown San Francisco Editor’s note: Jeff Brown was San Francisco public defender from 1979-2001. You can send Letters to the Editor to The Recorder, 10 United Nations Plaza, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94102; by fax at ( 415) 749-5549; or electronically at [email protected].

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