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Poll: Californians favor life sentences

Sept. 29, 2011 at 8:39 PM

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- A majority of Californians want to keep the death penalty on the books but a majority now prefer life without parole to execution, a poll found.

A Field Poll conducted this month found 68 percent of voters want to keep the death penalty, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday. For the first time, though, more respondents (48 percent) said they prefer people convicted of first-degree murder receive life without parole instead of the death penalty (40 percent).

In 2000, 44 percent of voters preferred the death penalty, while 37 chose life in prison, Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said.

While legal, executions have been on hold in California since 2006 due to a lawsuit challenging the state's lethal injection method.

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