California Voters to Decide on Death Penalty

Californians will vote in November on a measure that would abolish the death penalty, after enough signatures were submitted Monday to put the initiative on Election Day ballots. If passed, 723 death row inmates, or one-quarter of the country's death row population, could return to the general prison population. The state's death row population is higher than that of any other state because California sentences but rarely executes its inmates, Richard Dieter, executive director of Death Penalty Information Center, told MSNBC. The Los Angeles Times reported that California has executed 13 inmates since 1976 and none since 2006. Everyone from the American Civil Liberties Union to conservatives like El Dorado County Supervisor Ron Briggs, who helped write the 1978 initiative to expand the death penalty in the state, have supported the measure.

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