USA    CARDINAL URGES DEATH PENALTY STUDY
Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles has asked the state governor to place a moratorium on executions in California and conduct a study on how the death penalty is carried out in the state.
   He suggested on Thursday that Davis follow the lead of Illinois Governor George Ryan, who earlier this year set a moratorium on executions there after 13 death row inmates were exonerated.
   In a letter to Davis, who is Catholic, Mahony wrote that the death penalty is biased against the poor and minorities. He asked for the appointment of a bipartisan committee to study the capital punishment system, which he termed "fatally flawed."
   Davis has vocally supported the death penalty, and a spokesman said last week that the governor will continue to enforce the state's death penalty law.
   Eight inmates have been executed in California since 1976, when the Supreme Court let states to reinstate capital punishment, and Davis has refused three requests for clemency. California now has 565 inmates on death row, the highest number in the country.
   In March, California voters approved a proposition extending the death penalty's range to cover arson and kidnapping.
   
AP
29 May 00

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