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Death Penalty

Prop. 34 would repeal the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Persons currently sentenced to death would have their sentences converted to life imprisonment. The measure would create a $100 million fund for law enforcement efforts to combat violent crime.

Official Election Results:

Yes: 5,974,243 [48.0%]
No: 6,460,264 [52.0%]

Pro / Con


Proponents of Prop. 34 claim that it will guarantee that no innocent person is ever executed. They say that the repeal of the penalty will save the state millions in costs to maintain death row as well as paying state attorneys to handle death penalty cases. Supporters claim that repealing the death penalty will improve public protection by providing new funds to help fight future crimes.


Yes on 34 [Website archived in Internet Archive]


Opponents claim that Prop. 34 is insulting to victims families and that people convicted of death row crimes do not deserve more lenient sentences. They claim that the costs of long-term incarceration should be countered by executing death row inmates more quickly.


Vote No on 34 [Website archived in Internet Archive]



Field Poll Release #2432, November 2, 2012
“More voters now favor death penalty's repeal (Prop. 34), but yes vote less than a majority.”

USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times Frequency Questionnaire, October 15-21, 2012

“If the election were held today, would you vote yes to support or no to oppose Proposition 34?”

USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences/Los Angeles Times Frequency Questionnaire, September 17-23, 2012
“If the election were held today, would you vote yes to support or no to oppose Proposition 34?”

PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and their Government, September, 2012 

"The survey did not include specific questions about Proposition 34, which would repeal the death penalty, or Proposition 36, which would revise the three strikes law, but did ask about some of the concepts behind them. Asked about the penalty for first-degree murder, 50 percent of likely voters say life imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole should be the penalty, while 42 percent say it should be death."

Field Poll Release #2429, September 25, 2012
“Voters closely divided on Proposition 34 to repeal death penalty.”.

SurveyUSA Election Poll #19645 - 09/12/2012 (pg.6)
On Proposition 34, which would repeal the death penalty, are you...? Certain to vote yes? Certain to vote no? Or not certain?



With the passage of Proposition 7 in November, 1978, California has had the death penalty as a punishment for serious offenders. Around 900 individuals have been given a death sentence with 14 actually executed. 83 have died prior to being executed, and about 75 have had their sentences reduced by the courts. Currently, California has 725 offenders sentenced to death.

This measure repeals California's death penalty statute. If passed, no offender could be sentenced to death by the state. Offenders currently sentenced to death would be automatically resentenced to a prison term of life without the possibility of parole. The state Supreme court would be permitted to transfer all death penalty direct appeals and habeas corpus petitions to the California Courts of Appeal or state superior courts.

Existing state law requires most state prisoners to work. However, it does allows for some exceptions to work requirements for prisoners convicted of murder who pose too great a security risk to mix with the general prison population or perform work tasks. Proposition 34 would require all people convicted of murder to work while in state prison. Their pay would be deducted to pay for any debts owed to victims of crime. Existing prison practices related to inmate work requirements would not necessarily be changed by the measure.

In addition to a dissolving the death penalty, Prop. 34 would establish the SAFE California Fund to be distributed to law enforcement agencies to help solve more rape and homocide cases. $100 million would be transferred from the state General Fund to the SAFE California Fund from 2012 through 2016. Money would be distributed to local law enforcement agencies based on a formula created by the state attorney general.


Voter Resources

Voter Resources

Official CA Documents

Official Voter Information Guide

Campaign Finance Information

Cal-Access Check out how much money is being raised and spent to pass or defeat this measure, and where the money is coming from.

Cal-Access Ballot Measure Summary Data Search Select "General 06 November 2012" and "Proposition 034" from the drop-down menus. Cal-Access provides financial information supplied by state candidates, donors, lobbyists, and others.

Nonpartisan Analyses


California Initiative Review - Pacific McGeorge Capital Center for Public Law and Policy.

Maplight: Voter's Edge

League of Women Voters: Pros and Cons







News and Opinion
Updated: 1 sec ago

Support for California death penalty slipping

Fri, 2014-09-12 08:41
SACRAMENTO — Support for California's death penalty has fallen to its lowest level in more than 50 years after a judge ruled it unconstitutional, according to a Field Poll released Friday.

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Thu, 2014-09-04 09:20
NEW YORK, Sept. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- announces that a new market research report is available in its catalogue: Wireless Sensors: Technologies and Global Markets ...