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Homicide Rate

November 21, 1986

The sponsors of the recent multimillion-dollar TV advertising campaign would have us believe that we need executions and that if we got rid of Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird we would have fewer murders.

In 1977, when Rose Bird became chief justice, there had not been an execution in California for 10 years, and the willful homicide rate was 0.011% (11.1 per 100,000). After 8 years of Rose Bird, there still haven't been any executions and, according to the latest statistics from the attorney general's office, the willful homicide rate has gone to 0.0106%.

The only reasonable conclusion from these statistics is that if Rose Bird and the disuse of the gas chamber have any effect on the murder rate, it is to lower it.

RICHARD SUCH

Palo Alto

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