SAN FRANCISCO - A measure to abolish California's death penalty qualified for the November ballot on Monday.
If it passes, the 725 California inmates now on Death Row will have their sentences converted to life in prison without the possibility of parole. It would also make life without parole the harshest penalty prosecutors can seek.
Backers of the measure say abolishing the death penalty will save the state millions of dollars through layoffs of prosecutors and defense attorneys who handle death penalty cases, as well as savings from not having to maintain the nation's largest death row at San Quentin prison.
Those savings, supporters argue, can be used to help unsolved crimes. If the measure passes, $100 million in purported savings from abolishing the death penalty would be used over three years to investigate unsolved murders and rapes.
The measure is dubbed the "Savings, Accountability, and Full Enforcement for California Act," also known as the SAFE California Act. It's the fifth measure to qualify for the November ballot, the California secretary of state announced Monday. Supporters collected more than the 504,760 valid signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot.