Californians to decide in November whether to kill the death penalty

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Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Amnesty International activists during a protest to denounce the death penalty in the United States. California voters will get to decide in November whether to abolish capitol punishment in the Sunshine State.

California voters will have an opportunity this November to decide whether to get rid of the death penalty. A ballot measure certified Monday would replace capital punishment with life without parole.

“It’s hard to overstate the significance of this occasion," says Jeanne Woodford of the anti-capital punishment group Death Penalty Focus. "Voters in California will get to choose for the first time ever between the death penalty and the sentence of life in prison with absolutely no chance of parole.”

But opponents, like Republican State Senator Joel Anderson, say the death penalty process should be changed, not eliminated.

“I think that the voters should fix it first, look at it as a deterrent and then re-review it," Anderson says.

There are 725 inmates on California’s death row. If the measure passes, their sentences would also be converted to life without parole.

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