Existing law, as added and amended by various initiatives, including Proposition 7, approved by the voters at the November 7, 1978, statewide general election, provides for imposition of the death penalty for murder in the first degree if certain special circumstances are proved. Proposition 7 may only be amended by the Legislature by a statute that becomes effective only when approved by the electors.
This bill would abolish the death penalty, and provide instead for imprisonment in the state prison for life without the possibility of parole. The bill would provide that, where a defendant or inmate was sentenced to death prior to the date of voter approval of the bill, upon voter approval of the bill, the defendants or inmates sentence would automatically be converted to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The bill would require persons sentenced pursuant to the provisions of the bill to work in a maximum security prison for the term of their imprisonment, as specified. The bill would state findings and declarations of the Legislature regarding the death penalty. The bill would provide that it would only become effective if certain of its provisions are submitted to and approved by the electors at the November 6, 2012, statewide general election.