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September 25, 2012

New poll suggests death penalty repeal has a chance on California ballot

This new San Francisco Chronicle piece, headlined "Death penalty repeal close in poll," reports that the latest polling shows a close contest for the California ballot initiative calling for repeal of the state's death penalty. Here are the details:

California voters are closely divided on a November ballot measure to repeal the state's death penalty law, with significant differences in support among regions and age groups, a new Field Poll reports.

The survey found that Proposition 34, which would make life in prison without parole the maximum punishment for murder, was opposed by 45 percent of likely voters and favored by 42 percent, with 13 percent undecided. The results amounted to a statistical tie, since the poll's margin of error was 4.3 percentage points.

The poll, released Tuesday, was conducted Sept. 6-18 among a random sample of 468 voters....

Prop. 34 will be California's first vote on capital punishment since 1978, when a 71 percent majority approved expansion of a death penalty law that had been passed the previous year over Gov. Jerry Brown's veto.

Backers of the Nov. 6 measure are focusing on the economic impact of the death penalty, citing studies that found the state spends as much as $184 million a year more than it would if the maximum sentence were life without parole. Prop. 34 would transfer $100 million over four years to law enforcement programs to solve murder and rape cases.

The new poll found that Prop. 34 was supported by Democrats, 50-37 percent, and even more strongly by unaffiliated and third-party voters, 54-33 percent, but opposed 23-65 percent by Republicans.

Residents of coastal counties favored the measure 45-41 percent, within the poll's margin of error, but inland residents opposed it 34-55 percent. The Bay Area provided the strongest regional support, 57-35 percent.

Men were evenly split, while women narrowly opposed the measure. Younger voters were about equally divided, but those ages 50 to 64 opposed Prop. 34 by 39 to 51 percent, and voters over 65 opposed it 38 to 46 percent.

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The 729 convicted murderers on death row were convicted of brutally killing at least 1,279 people. At least 230 of them were children. 75 more were young adults between the ages of 18-20. Another 82 victims were older than 65.

Of these victims, at least 211 of them were raped and 319 of them robbed. Sixty-six victims were killed in execution style, usually bound and shot in the back of the head. Forty-seven victims were tortured.

Forty-three of these victims were law enforcement agents and another seven were security guards. Not included in these numbers are cases where the killer attempted to kill a police officer, but was unsuccessful, as in the case of Oswaldo Amezcua who shot three police officers.

An important consideration in changing a killer’s sentence to life is whether he has murdered other inmates while incarcerated. Eleven death sentences were handed down after an already-incarcerated inmate murdered another inmate.

Posted by: Chris Bernstien | Sep 25, 2012 12:34:00 PM

The arguments in support of Pro. 34, the ballot measure to abolish the death penalty, are exaggerated at best and, in most cases, misleading and false. Proposition 34 is being funded primarily by a wealthy company out of Chicago and the ACLU. It includes provisions that would make our prisons less safe for both other prisoners and prison officials. It significantly increases the costs to taxpayers due to life-time medical costs, the increased security required to coerce former death-row inmates to work, the money to pay those inmates to work, etc. The amount “saved” in order to help fund law enforcement is negligible and only for three years. (The money is taken from the general fund irregardless of whether Prop 34 actually saves any money.) Prop. 34 also takes away funds inmates could use to actually fight for their innocence, increasing the risk that innocent people will spend the rest of their lives in jail. The dollars Prop. 34 takes away ensure both that innocent people are not executed or spend the rest of their lives in jail. Get the facts and supporting evidence at http://cadeathpenalty.webs.com, http://waiting4justice.org/, and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vb7HMOfxxLE.

Posted by: Chris Bernstien | Sep 25, 2012 12:34:31 PM

150 million dollars per year

Posted by: Claudio GiustiI | Sep 25, 2012 1:41:31 PM

I've said it for years and I'll say it again. Capital punishment doesn't deter crime. It didn't stop it back in the days when the methods were more tortuous and it doesn't stop it today. Just look at what goes on in the states that still have the penalty: http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2012/09/21/florida-am-responds-students-hazing-death-job-protect-students-off-campus/

Posted by: Jill Streams | Sep 25, 2012 4:21:34 PM


Since when is deterrence the only justification? Retributivism is still the primary justification in current discourse.

Posted by: Matt | Sep 25, 2012 6:33:52 PM

Claudio, is LWOP free then?

Posted by: alpino | Sep 26, 2012 3:10:58 AM

alpino: : "Claudio, is LWOP free then?"

No, but it leaves the undiscerning liberal mind free of guilt.

Posted by: Adamakis | Sep 28, 2012 12:10:05 PM

Bernstien: :
}}-- CA murderers on death row killed 1,279 people...
}}-- at least 230 children...
}}-- 75 more were young adults (18-20yrs)...
}}-- 82 victims were older than 65...
}}-- at least 211 were also raped...
}}-- 319 robbed...66 killed by execution style...
}}-- 47 were tortured.

Yeah, but ignorance is bliss, and "when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight..."~~S. Adams, 1775

///hopefully not California\\\

Posted by: Adamakis | Sep 28, 2012 12:25:41 PM

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