Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Death Penalty Survives in California

California voters on Tuesday rejected a ballot measure that would have repealed the state's death penalty, reported the San Jose Mercury News.

Proposition 34 lost by about 6 percentage points, dimming the hopes of death penalty opponents who were trying to abolish the death penalty in California and clear the largest death row in the nation.

The measure would have replaced the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole and converted the death sentences of California's 727 death row inmates to life. It would have reverberated through the national debate over the death penalty, while immediately removing nearly a quarter of the more than 3,100 death row inmates now awaiting execution across the country.

California has executed just 13 inmates since restoring the death penalty in 1978, the result of an appeals process that takes decades and often results in death sentences being overturned long after a murderer is sent to San Quentin, reported the Mercury News.
Executions have been on hold for nearly seven years in California, the result of ongoing legal challenges to the state's lethal injection method. Those court battles will continue to unfold, likely ensuring another year or more of delays before the state can realistically resume executions.

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