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February 22, 2009

The capital punishment back-up in California

The San Francisco Chronicle has this new front-page article, headlined "3 years later, state executions still on hold," detailing the messy status of capital punishment in California. Here is how the piece starts:

It's been three years since the night a federal judge blocked an execution at San Quentin State Prison because of concerns that the state's haphazard lethal injection methods could inflict prolonged and excruciating pain on a condemned inmate, violating the U.S. Constitution.

Today, the state is no closer to executing the Stockton murderer-rapist who was to have died that night, Michael Morales, or any of the other 679 prisoners on the nation's largest death row. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration says it's trying to break the logjam by agreeing to let the public comment on proposed new procedures for executing convicts, a concession that it opposed in court for more than two years....

Even if the state now moves quickly to evaluate public comment on the revamped injections, and rapidly persuades the federal courts that it's solved the previous problems, executions are unlikely to resume in California for at least another year.

February 22, 2009 at 12:30 PM | Permalink


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And it turns out the federal judge was wrong anyway . . . .

Posted by: federalist | Feb 22, 2009 12:36:56 PM

The CA death penalty strikes me as a metaphor for America's relationship to criminal justice more broadly. We're desperate to show how Big and Tough we are, but we don't want to pay the attendant costs or own up to the practical consequences.

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