In a stunning but not surprising ruling by U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney, the Judge ruled that the California Death Penalty as currently applied is unconstitutional.
As Carney noted, out of more than 900 convicted murderers sentenced to death since voters passed the current death penalty law in 1978, far more – 94 – have died from illnesses, suicide or other causes than on the executioner’s table. An additional 39 have had their sentences reduced by the courts.
For most condemned prisoners, “systemic delay has made their execution so unlikely that the death sentence carefully and deliberately imposed by the jury has been quietly transformed into one no rational jury or legislature could ever impose: life in prison, with the remote possibility of death,” said Carney, a 2003 appointee of President George W. Bush.
The ruling from the bench can be appealed to the 9th circuit court of appeals. You can read the whole thing here.
U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney wrote that the “dysfunctional administration of California’s death penalty system” has led to years-long delays for executions. According to the Los Angeles Times, 900 people have been given the death penalty in California since 1978 — but only 13 have been executed.