Attempt to end death penalty in Calif. defeated

Prop. 34 replaces death penalty with life sentence

LOS ANGELES - An attempt to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole was defeated by California voters.

Proposition 34 was being rejected by a margin of 53.4 percent to 46.6 percent with vote-by-mail ballots and 78.5 percent of the state's precincts partially or fully counted, according to figures released early Wednesday by the Secretary of State's Office.

Proposition 34 would have applied retroactively to inmates sentenced to death and required convicted killers to work while imprisoned, with their wages applied to any victim restitution fines or orders against them.

Passage of Proposition 34 would have resulted in net savings to the state and counties in "the high tens of millions of dollars annually on a statewide basis," according to an analysis prepared by Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor and Director of Finance Ana J. Matosantos.

The measure would have set aside $100 million in savings for DNA testing and fingerprint analysis in an attempt to help solve more homicide and rape cases.

California's death penalty law was reinstated by the Legislature in 1977 over the veto of Gov. Jerry Brown and amended by voters in 1978. It has resulted in 13 executions, the most recent in 2006.

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