[Pnews] Federal Judge Strikes Down California's Death Penalty

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jul 16 15:52:56 EDT 2014

  Federal Judge Strikes Down California's Death Penalty

The Huffington Post  | By Mollie Reilly 
Posted: 07/16/2014 3:10 pm EDT Updated: 3 minutes ago

A federal judge has ruled that California's death 
penalty system is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Court 
Judge Cormac J. Carney handed down an order 
Wednesday, finding that the system is arbitrary and in violation of the 
Constitution's 8th Amendment.

"California's death penalty system is so plagued by inordinate and 
unpredictable delay that the death sentence is actually carried out 
against only a trivial few of those sentenced to death," Carney writes. 
"For all practical purposes then, a sentence of death in California is a 
sentence of life imprisonment 
with the remote possibility of death -- a sentence no rational 
legislature or jury could ever impose."

Carney continues: "Inordinate and unpredictable delay... has resulted in 
a system in which arbitrary factors, rather than legitimate ones like 
the nature of the crime or the date of the death sentence, determine 
whether an individual will actually be executed. And it has resulted in 
a system that serves no penological purpose. Such a system is 

The ruling also vacated petitioner Ernest Dwayne Jones' death sentence. 
Jones was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in 

Capital punishment 
was ruled unconstitutional 
by the state's Supreme Court in 1976, but was reinstated by the state 
legislature the following year. Since then, 13 inmates 
<http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Capital_Punishment/Inmates_Executed.html> have 
been executed in California, most recently Clarence Ray Allen 
<http://www.cbsnews.com/news/clarence-allen-76-executed/> in 2006. An 
analysis by the Los Angeles Times 
found that the state spent $308 million on each execution.

Read the order below:

Jones vs. Chappell <http://www.scribd.com/doc/234138113/Jones-vs-Chappell>

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