California Death Penalty Ruled Unconstitutional
July 20th, 2014
On July 16, a federal judge in California ruled that the state’s death penalty is unconstitutional, based on the lengthy delays involved in executions. The Judge ruled that the “arbitrariness” and “unpredictability” with which the death penalty is carried out violates the constitution’s ban on “cruel and unusual” punishment.
Faith groups and Organizations supporting abolition of death penalty are now starting to assess all the implications of this ruling. The decision is not likely to lead to immediate changes regarding the death penalty in California, as there have been no executions there since 2006. If the State appeals though, the question of whether, and when, problems with a state’s death penalty system can render it unconstitutional will then be decided by a federal appeals court in San Francisco. A ruling from that court (the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals) in favor of this recent opinion would affect the death penalty in states throughout the west.
The OMI JPIC office will share with you the legal implications arising from this ruling on the death penalty in California, as well as action alerts from the California Catholic Bishops Conference.
The Bishops in California were strong supporters of Proposition 34 to end the use of the death penalty in California. Proposition 34 was defeated as a ballot initiative in 2012.
More information here: California Death Penalty Unconstitutional