An Unpredictable System of Capital Punishment
On July 16th, a federal judge created shock waves by ruling the California death penalty as a direct violation of the Constitution. It was ruled that the death penalty violates the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The 8th Amendment states that the federal government must not impose excessive bail, excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishments, including torture. California's system of capital punishment has been described as “dysfunctional” by U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney for quite some time. According to Carney, California's capital punishment system is unpredictable and far too illogical, with death sentences taking overly long to be carried out- which can be considered inhumane.
The Reality of the Death Penalty in California
Since 1978, 900 people were sentenced to death in California, yet only 13 of those sentenced to die have actually been executed. Further, no one has been executed since 2006, revealing the inconsistency of the capital system in place in California. Judge Carney explains that looking at the facts of fulfilled sentences, the death penalty in California really equates to a life in prison, with a slight chance of death.
Even for the inmates who will be executed, the amount of time spent on Death Row is so ridiculous that an execution hardly serves a purpose after a lifetime in prison.
However, we still will not know what is in store for the death penalty and capital punishment in California until the higher U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court weigh in on California's ruling.