California residents voted against abolishing the death penalty and approved another measure limiting death penalty appeals.
"California voters have spoken loud and clear that they want to keep the death penalty intact," said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. "This is the ninth time California voters have voted in favor of keeping the death penalty for the most heinous killers."
Ballots were cast on Proposition 62 and Proposition 66, both of which relate to death penalty cases, on Tuesday.
Proposition 62 sought to replace the death penalty with life in prison with no access to parole, which was opposed by a majority of 56 percent of the voters. Proposition 62 had received large donations from many Democratic activists.
"The outcome of the election does not change the fact that California's death penalty is broken beyond repair and remains a sentence 'in name only,'" said Jacob Hay, Yes-on-62 campaign spokesman. "The high costs will continue to add up, the backlog of cases will continue to mount and the stories of injustice will continue to be heard. We are confident California's failed death penalty will one day come to an end, either from voters or through the courts."
Proposition 66 puts limits on appeals for the death penalty and sets timelines for trials in cases involving capital offense.
Supporters of Proposition 66 wanted to expedite execution proceedings by restricting the number of petitions and the time limit granted to the death sentence trials. The measure also increases the number of lawyers who can work on the death penalty appeals.
However, critics of the proposition say that it renders innocent people to be denied justice.
"The danger with 66 is it does limit and narrow the ability to present newly discovered evidence, which is how most of these innocence claims are presented in court," said Ellen Kreitzberg, professor at Santa Clara University.