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Momentum is gathering to place an initiative on the November 2012 ballot to end capital punishment in California. The SAFE California Act would replace California's death penalty with life imprisonment with no chance of parole as the maximum sentence for murder. Proponents claim the initiative's passage would save California $1 billion over five years without releasing prisoners and provide $100 million for increased investigation of unsolved rape and murder cases.

aclu death penalty forum

At the ACLU Public Forum in Pasadena, James Clark of the SAFE California Campaign and Brent Tonik, stepbrother of a murder victim who has become a death penalty activist, will discuss the history of California's death penalty and lay out the case for its abolition.

"The dominoes are falling fast as more and more people in California are learning what a waste the death penalty has become," Clark has written. "They know people have spent 30 years trying to make it work quickly, efficiently, cheaply, and fairly, and they have failed. Even major news sources like the LA Times and Silicon Valley Mercury News have seen the obvious, with the LA Times writing an exasperated call to 'Just abolish it.'"

Abolition advocates indicate that while gang violence prevention efforts have reduced gang violence and homicide rates in recent decades, social services like those are usually among the first to chopped during a budget crisis like the one California currently faces. The savings from abolishing the death penalty could help restore those much-needed programs.

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WHAT: ACLU Pasadena-Foothills Chapter Public Forum
WHEN: Tuesday, January 10th, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Neighborhood Church, 301 No. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena.

Spanish translation available.