In 1978, California voters overwhelmingly approved the Briggs Death Penalty
Initiative that vastly expanded the number of crimes punishable by death. The
sponsors of the proposition argued that it would allow prosecutors to seek just
punishment for crimes of murder. Now, California's death row currently houses
more than 700 inmates, more than any state in the union.
Its supporters argued it would send a strong message to criminals – commit
murder in California and expect a quick trip to the gas chamber – but it hasn't
worked out that way. In the almost 35 years since it was approved, the state
has executed 13 convicted murderers. Now, the Briggs Family that sponsored the
1978 initiative supports the SAFE California Initiative that would replace the
death penalty in California with a sentence of life without parole.
Ron Briggs, member of the Board of Supervisors in El Dorado, CA. In 1978,
Briggs, his father, and his brother sought to expand the death penalty through
the Briggs Death Penalty Initiative.
(source: Southern California Public Radio)