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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

California group launch state proposition drive to place capital punishment on ballot

WASHINGTON - JUNE 29:  Abolitionist Action Com...Image by Getty Images 
The high cost of Capital Punishment in California could face a vote of the people, if opponents who launched a petition drive to place a proposition on the November 2013 ballot are successful. The initiative would seek to replace the death penalty in the state with a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.

Organizers must collect 504,000 valid voter signatures by the March 18, 2012 deadline to qualify the initiative for the election.

"Californians are ready for the SAFE California Act because now they realize we have wasted literally billions of dollars on a failed death penalty system," said Natasha Minsker, statewide campaign manager and attorney for the ACLU of Northern California to The S.F. Gate 
"It's time to take our resources and put them instead toward public safety," she stated.
If the initiative is successful, abolishing the death penalty could save California’s beleaguered state budget $1 billion in five years.

Minsker told the San Francisco Gate its upcoming campaign has 800 volunteers and expects to have 2,000 by March. She estimated the campaign to qualify for the ballot will cost as much as $1.5 million.

California has not executed convicted death row inmate since January 2006, after a federal judge halted enforcement of the death penalty because of the possibility that flawed procedures were inflicting agonizing deaths on condemned prisoners. Only 13 prisoners have been executed in California since the 1977 state law enacting the Death Penalty.

A Field Poll released on September 29th showed that 68% of California voters surveyed favored keeping the death penalty. But, when the question was asked differently 48% of potential voters said they would prefer that someone convicted of first-degree murder serve life without the possibility of parole and 40% percent preferred the death penalty.

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