Life-and-death decision - Page 3

Backers of Prop 34 target the still-high number of undecided voters

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Will California become the 18th US state to abolish capital punishment?
PHOTO BY AP IMAGES

Among that information, Minsker said, is the fact that "with the death penalty, we sometimes sentence innocent people."

The University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law reports that in the last 23 years, more than 2,000 people convicted of serious crimes were exonerated in the US.

The Innocence Project, which assists prisoners using DNA testing, found that 18 people previously sentenced to death in the US have been exonerated.

"We have learned that innocent people have been sentenced to death," said Innocence Project Policy Director Stephen Saloom. "States are increasingly abolishing the death penalty because it's just not worth it." According to the Death Penalty Information Center, since 1978 California has executed 13 out of 725 death row inmates, costing California taxpayers $4 billion. "It's not worth keeping this lengthy, costly process any longer," Saloom said, "and I think people are more likely to see that it's not a very good government program."

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