A ballot initiative to do so is likely to qualify for the ballot, having garnered substantially more signatures than needed.
A Californian can be sentenced to death if found guilty of first degree murder or a few other offenses: treason against the state, train-wrecking that results in a death, or perjury that results in the execution of an innocent. There are 723 death row inmates in the Golden State, none for train-wrecking, treason, or perjury. And the whole lot of first-degree murderers will have their lives spared if the state's voters pass a ballot initiative in November that would abolish the death penalty.
Steve Cooley, the District Attorney in Los Angeles County, is against the initiative. "This would essentially eliminate death penalty for the cop killers, the baby killers and the serial killers that are among us," he said, adding that if its proponents "want to let these people live out their lives gracefully and expensively, with us taking care of their healthcare bill, fine and dandy, but some of these criminals have forfeited their right to be on the face of the earth." It's a misleading argument, because administering the death penalty turns out to cost more than locking people up for life. "The measure directs $100 million saved from abolishing the death penalty be spent over three years investigating unsolved murders and rapes," The Associated Press reports.