By Associated Press
SACRAMENTO — Support for California's death penalty has fallen to its lowest level in nearly 50 years after a judge ruled it unconstitutional, according to a Field Poll released Friday.
The poll found 56 percent of registered voters support keeping the death penalty, a decline of 12 percentage points in just the last three years, when Field found 68 percent support for the death penalty. The new survey found 34 percent of respondents support abolishing it and 10 percent have no opinion.
It is the lowest level of support since 1965, when just 51 percent of Californians backed it.
U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney in Los Angeles ruled in July that California's death penalty is unconstitutional because it takes too long to carry out, and that unpredictable delays are arbitrary and unfair. The judge noted that since the current death penalty system was adopted more than 35 years ago, more than 900 people have been sentenced to death but only 13 have been executed.