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The Connection

The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

Prop 34 could end the death penalty

California is one of the 33 states that currently authorizes the death penalty .

California currently has 725 people on death row whose sentences will be replaced with life in prison without parole if Proposition 34 is approved, according to the official voters guide.

Proposition 34, titled the “Death Penalty Initiative Statute,” would repeal the death penalty as maximum punishment for persons found guilty of murder and replace it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

It applies retroactively to persons already sentenced to death and requires persons found guilty of murder to work while incarcerated and use their wages to be applied to restitution for their crimes.

This will create a $100 million fund to be distributed to law enforcement agencies to help solve more homicide and rape cases.

Repealing the death penalty could save the state millions through layoffs of prosecutors and defense attorneys who handle death penalty cases, as well as not having to maintain the nation’s largest death row at San Quentin Prison, according to a study from Loyola Law School.

As well as saving the state money, some people view the proposition from a moral standpoint like 22-year-old psychology major Mario Cortez.

“No person shouldn’t judge another person to death,” Cortez said. “Its not justice, its revenge. To all students voting: know the facts, do your research and be knowledgeable before you vote.”

A long term con to passing Proposition 34 is that the already low on funds state will have taxpayers shell out an additional $50,000 more annually, giving lifetime healthcare/housing to murderers and rapists, according to the official voters guide.

Pros and cons aside, U.S history and The Innocence Project, founded in 1992, prove that there were and still are many inmates that are innocent and were wrongfully convicted that are on death row.

Psychology professor Stacy Rilea has personally seen the effects of wrongful convictions as she has been an expert witness in several eyewitness identification cases.

“Cases that were overturned by the Innocence Project, 75 percent were misidentifications,” Rilea said.

As of Oct. 1, the “No on 34” campaign had raised $245,600 compared to the roughly $5.9 million raised by the “Yes on 34” campaign.

“Students should take a good look at all the propositions including Prop 34 before voting blindly, because all these things are affecting you or will affect you in your future,” Rilea said. “Imagine if it was your father or another family member who was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death, and you knew they were innocent, but there was nothing you could do about it.”

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Prop 34 could end the death penalty