Bill to abolish death penalty in California killed 

A bill that would have allowed voters to abolish the death penalty in California was withdrawn by state Sen. Loni Hancock Thursday in Sacramento.

“The votes were not there to support reforming California’s expensive and dysfunctional death penalty system,” Senator Hancock said in a statement. “I had hoped we would take the opportunity to save hundreds of millions of dollars that could be used to support our schools and universities, keep police on our streets and fund essential public institutions like the courts.”

Hancock was pushing the legislation based on a widely circulated study that said the state has spent $4 billion on capital punishment since voters decided to reinstate it in 1978. In that time, only 13 death row inmates have been executed, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation data. There are currently 714 inmates sentenced to die in California.

The lone death row inmate from San Francisco is 56-year-old Clifford Bolden, a male escort who was convicted in 1991 for the 1986 murder of Michael Pederson. Bolden has twice unsuccessfully appealed his case in state Supreme Court and he is currently pursuing another appeal in federal court.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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Thursday, Feb 26, 2015

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