Yes, the death penalty has deterred some criminals from committing atrocious acts. Cal Worthington admitted in his memoirs that the one reason for resisting bloody-thirsty revenge against another was the threat of the needle.
However, in an alarming number of cases, innocent individuals have been sent to Death Row as a result of sloppy, hasty, or politically motivated investigations. Confessions, poor evidence collection, DNA revelations have challenged the notion that juries pass predominantly infallible verdicts in death penalty cases.
Plus the cost of lengthy court appeals through state then federal jurisdictions are costing the state of California money which the state does not have.
How much longer will voters continue to suffer under the burden of a criminal justice system which incarcerates too many non-violent offenders without properly adjudicating the cases with serious implications for the community? Murder and rape are serious crimes, yet the rush of the justice system tends toward implicating the innocent and increasing miscarriages of justice, creating a greater undue burden on taxpayers and the shuttering court system throughout the state.
The death penalty has become too fraught an affair, both morally and economically, for the People of the State of California to tolerate any further. Let us hope that a requisite majority of voters support the SAFE Act and abolish the death penalty.