Death Penalty

California Death Penalty Opponents Use Economic Arguments

The indebted state would save over $100 million a year if inmates on death row were given life without parole

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SAN FRANCISCO—Death penalty opponents in California are trying a new argument this year: Abolish capital punishment because the perpetually cash-strapped state just can't afford it.

Voters in the state with the nation's largest death row will decide Tuesday whether to repeal the death penalty. Proponents of Proposition 34 say incarceration and litigation costs are too high for too little return.

California has spent about $4 billion since capital punishment resumed in 1977, yet just 13 inmates have been put to death.