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46 Loy. L. A. L. Rev. 221 (2012-2013)
Costs of Capital Punishment in California: Will Voters Choose Reform This November

handle is hein.journals/lla46 and id is 235 raw text is: COSTS OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT IN
Judge Arthur L. Alarcon & Paula M. Mitchell*
In November 2012, California voters took to the polls to consider
Proposition 34, a ballot initiative to replace the death penalty with a
sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole (LWOP') as
the state's most severe punishment. In advance of the election, Judge
Arthur L. Alarc6n and Paula M. Mitchell released this Article, which
the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review published on its website on
September 10, 2012.
In this Article, the authors updated voters on the findings
presented in their groundbreaking 2011 study, which revealed that from
1978 to 2011, California's death-penalty system cost the state's
taxpayers $4 billion more than a system that has LWOP as its most
severe penalty. Here, the authors demonstrate that the decision to
maintain the current system will cost Californians an additional $5
billion to $7 billion between now and 2050. In that time, roughly 740
more inmates will be added to death row, an additional fourteen
executions will be carried out, and more than five hundred death-row
inmates will die of old age or other causes before the state executes
On November 6, 2012, Proposition 34 was defeated by a margin
of 6,460,264 votes to 5,974,243. The Article is reproduced here as it
originally appeared on the Law Review's website, although the pages
have been renumbered and minor typographic corrections have been
* Judge Arthur L. Alarc6n is a Senior Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth
Circuit. Paula M. Mitchell is an adjunct professor of law at Loyola Law School Los Angeles,
where she teaches Habeas Corpus and Civil Rights Litigation. They co-wrote Executing the Will
of the Voters?: A Roadmap to Mend or End the California Legislature's Multi-Billion Dollar
Death Penalty Debacle, 44 LOY. L.A. L. REV. S41 (2011), which was published in June 2011.


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