California Judge Finds Death Penalty Unconstitutional

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Judge Cormac J. Carney of Orange County, Calif. has ruled the death penalty unconstitutional after hearing the case of death row inmate Ernest Dewayne Jones.

Carney concluded that the state’s death penalty is a quagmire of long delays. Plus, he asserts it creates a world of uncertainty for inmates, and most on death row will never be executed.

“The dysfunctional administration of California’s death penalty system has resulted, and will continue to result, in an inordinate and unpredictable period of delay preceding their actual execution,” wrote Carney.

He thus concludes that the process violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Additionally, the judge wrote that over the past 35 years (when California adopted the death penalty) more than 900 people have been sentenced to death and only 13 have been executed.

“It further proves that the death penalty is broken beyond repair,” further wrote Carney. He asked that capital punishment be replaced with “life in prison without the possibility of parole.”

Republican State Sen. Jim Nielsen completely strongly disagrees with the decision. “The current system needs improvement, but to completely get rid of the death penalty is unconscionable for victims and their families and society,” he said in an officially released statement.

“Victims and their families need and deserve justice. This ruling denies them and society justice,” Nielsen  further stated. He then asked for Attorney General Kamala Harris to “uphold the will of the people” and appeal the ruling.

A new federal judge has been assigned to the case and hasn’t made a ruling as to whether California can restart executions. Until a final determination is made, there can be no executions within the state.

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