California to weigh ending death penalty

2012-04-24 11:00

Los Angeles - Voters in California will have the chance to cast ballots on a referendum on ending the death penalty in November, state electoral officials said on Monday.

The "Savings, Accountability and Full Enforcement for California Act", or Safe California Act, garnered enough support signatures. It will be considered on 6 November, when Americans head to the polls for general elections, Secretary of State Debra Bowen said.

If the measure is approved, the 725 inmates on death row in the most populous US state would see their sentences commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

If the resolution passes, California would become the 18th US state to eliminate the death penalty.

When the death penalty was reinstated in 1978, "we did not have an alternative sentence that would keep convicted killers behind bars forever. We certainly did not know that we would spend $4bn on 13 executions", the measure's official sponsor Jeanne Woodford said in a statement.

"Our system is broken, expensive and it always will carry the grave risk of a mistake. Safe California offers a solution with savings at a time when we're laying off teachers and cutting vital services," added Woodford, a former warden at San Quentin State Prison.

  • Brett - 2012-04-24 11:31

    Dont be stupid. Keep the death penalty.

  • Rob - 2012-04-24 11:51

    Just hope & pray you are not scheduled to be executed before November 2012. Hope they keep it though.

      Jill - 2012-04-24 12:36

      I respect your point of view Rob and Brett but I speak from a personal incident when I say that I believe it would be better to sentence people to life imprisonment in solitary confinement,without parole than give them a quick death at the end of a rope, electric chair or injection. After all they didn't give their victim a quick death!!

  • jruppersberg - 2012-04-24 12:25

    Personally I am against the death penalty. Yes, some do deserve it but the justice system (worldwide) is not accurate enough for it. Still today many people are acquitted after being found guilty when new evidence emerges. Not even 1000 guilty deaths justifies 1 innocent's. How would you feel if your brother/sister is sentenced to death for a crime he/she did not commit? I wonder how many innocent people have been put to death in the USA over the last century? Knowing that the justice system is not accurate enough, anyone voting YES on this referendum will have the death of the next innocent victim on their hands.

      Jill - 2012-04-24 12:41

      Ruppersberg, you will see that I posted a comment for Rob and Brent as well but let me comment to you that Abraham Lincoln agreed with your comment ... he said "Better 9 guilty men go free than 1 innocent man dies".

  • robert.cerff - 2012-04-24 13:23

    Um... perhaps my math is really bad but: "we did not have an alternative sentence that would keep convicted killers behind bars forever. We certainly did not know that we would spend $4bn on 13 executions" Surely it would have been way less expensive and less of a drain on society to keep them alive. There's no way that 13 additional inmates would cost the system (taxpayer) $4bn!

      Mark - 2012-04-24 13:44

      All their legal appeals go on for years and the state has to pay their legal fees.

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