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Recommendation for Proposition 34 - Death Penalty.

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Death Penalty Repeal.

Ballot Measure to which this Recommendation is Connected: 

Proposition 34: Death Penalty.

Election: 

November 6, 2012

League Position

The SAFE California Act will replace the death penalty in California with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Convicted killers will stay in prison for the rest of their lives, eliminating the possibility of executing an innocent person in California. This will save over $100 million every year— because the court and incarceration costs are so much higher for prisoners at risk for a death penalty. $100 million of these savings will be allocated over the next four years to pay for increased investigation of unsolved rape and murder cases. Convicted killers will be required to work and pay restitution into a victims’ compensation fund.

Besides being ineffective and subject to error–including the possibility of an innocent person being executed, and about half of serious violent crimes (homicides and rapes, at 46 percent and 56 percent) going unsolved every year as a result of limited law-enforcement resources–the death penalty is a serious fiscal drain. Replacing it with permanent imprisonment would save the state a significant amount of money, estimated at $1 billion every five years. Other arguments in support of Prop 34 include:

  • The death penalty is unfair to victims. The SAFE Act would allow voters to put an end to the empty promise of the death penalty by providing faster resolution and certain punishment.
  • The SAFE Act would keep the public safe by keeping convicted murderers behind bars for life.
  • The SAFE Act is completely constitutional. The California Supreme Court considers it “settled” that voters are allowed to decide what punishment fits what crime and to bring all previously imposed sentences in line with new guidelines in order to ensure fairness and uniformity.

This initiative fits very well in the LWV position supporting the abolition of the death penalty.