SACRAMENTO, Calif.--()--The No on 34 campaign strongly criticized today's PPIC Poll, noting the poll's questions were misleading and paint an inaccurate picture of the issue. According to PPIC's release, "Asked about the penalty for first-degree murder, 50 percent of likely voters say life imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole should be the penalty, while 42 percent say it should be death."
“Asked about the penalty for first-degree murder, 50 percent of likely voters say life imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole should be the penalty, while 42 percent say it should be death.”
Under current law, a first-degree murder conviction doesn't qualify for the death penalty or a sentence of life without possibility of parole. 25-years-to-life is the strongest sentence that applies for first-degree murder. A special circumstance has to apply, such as the killing of a police officer, in order to qualify for the death penalty. Those convicted of first-degree murder are eligible for eventual parole. The question assumes that voters would know this.
The following statement was issued by Carl Adams, Sutter County District Attorney and Co-Chair of the No on 34 campaign:
"The choice offered to voters by the Public Policy Institute of California between the death penalty and life without the possibility of parole for first degree murder is misleading and against current law. Today, a first degree murder conviction does not qualify for a death sentence or life without the possibility of parole. The murder conviction must also include the finding of a special and more violent circumstance. Only the worst offenders, two percent of murderers, qualify for a death sentence. When this distinction is clear or the ballot label of Proposition 34 is used, every public poll has demonstrated overwhelming support for the death penalty. Voters know that law enforcement, local governments and crime victims oppose Prop 34, and they do too."