California to vote on abolishing the death penalty

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/24/california-vote-abolish-death-penalty

If passed, execution would be abolished as the maximum sentence in murder convictions, replaced with life imprisonment

Reuters in Los Angeles
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 24 April 2012

California voters will decide in November whether to repeal the death penalty, after activists collected the more than 500,000 signatures needed to put the measure on the ballot.

The ballot initiative focuses on the high cost of the death penalty in a state that has executed 13 people since capital punishment was reinstated in the nation in 1976. Another 723 inmates sit on death row pending lengthy and expensive appeals.

The move, which comes as a number of states reconsider capital punishment, would abolish execution as the maximum sentence in murder convictions and replace it with life imprisonment.

If the measure passes, it was expected to save the state in the “high tens of millions of dollars annually,” according to an estimate of the fiscal impact of the bill that is included in the text of the measure.

“We’ve spent billions of dollars killing 13 people. There is a much better system,” said Steve Smith, a campaign consultant for SAFE, which got the initiative on the ballot. By contrast, Texas has executed 481 people during the same time period.

The ballot measure was approved as a growing number of states question the use of the death penalty, and comes less than two weeks after Connecticut lawmakers voted to repeal the death penalty there.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/24/california-vote-abolish-death-penalty

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