California voters to decide on death penalty

April 24, 2012 at 8:42 AM

SACRAMENTO, April 24 (UPI) -- Voters in California will decide this fall whether the more than 700 inmates on death row should not be executed, officials said.

A ballot measure that would replace capital punishment with life in prison without possibility of parole has qualified to go to the voters in November, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

The measure is supported by a growing number of conservatives who have expressed frustration with capital punishment's price tag and the rarity of executions. In the past 23 years, California has executed 13 death row inmates.

Among those backing the measure is former Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti who said his experiences on the job helped change his mind about the fairness of the system.

Legal director Kent Scheidegger of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation said fundraising to defeat the November measure will be difficult.

If it is approved, California will become the 18th state in the nation without a death penalty.

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