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Federal court rules California’s death penalty unconstitutional

17
Jul
2014

A federal judge in Orange County, California today struck down the states death penalty, arguing that the system is so fractured, it violates the states constitution. Filed today by US District Judge Cormac J. Carney in the Central District of California, todays opinion — posted here by KWMU — explains that more than 900 people have been sentenced to death in California since 1978, but only 13 have been executed. The ruling ruled not based on the idea that the death penalty itself is unconstitutional, but rather that the delays and uncertainty constitute cruel and unusual punishment. For the hundreds of prisoners on death row, the opinion reads, the dysfunctional administration of Californias death penalty system has resulted, and will continue to result, in an inordinate and unpredictable period of delay preceding their actual execution. These systemic delays have made executions so unlikely that the death sentence serves no retributive or deterrent purpose….

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