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Proposed Ballot Measure Would End Death Penalty In California

Evening Edition host Peggy Pico talks to Alex Simpson, associate director of the California Innocence Project in San Diego about the newly proposed ballot measure to ban the death penalty in California.

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A new ballot initiative is being proposed in California to end the state's death penalty.

Longtime anti-death penalty advocate actor Mike Farrell is promoting "The Justice That Works Act of 2016," which would amend the California penal code to replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Initiative supporters have to collect more than 365,000 signatures in 180 days to get the measure on the November 2016 ballot.

It's the latest move toward ending capitol punishment in California. In July 2014, a federal judge ruled California's death penalty unconstitutional. That ruling is awaiting review.

California has not executed a prisoner in nearly a decade despite the state having more than 740 condemned convicts on death row - that's the largest number of any state.

Alex Simpson, associate director of the California Innocence Project, said many opponents are against the death penalty because of the costs associated with it.

"The cost is really a lot upfront," Simpson told KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday. "It costs a lot of money, and that money is not going to other services. This ballot initiative is really just reflecting (the costs). At its base, its a fiscal argument."

There are currently 19 states that have abolished the death penalty, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

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