Update on the future of the Death penalty in CA

Earlier, we took an in depth look at the contours of capital punishment in CA. As we awaited challenges to the constitutionality of Prop 66 to be clarified by the CA Supreme Court, this blogger predicted that capital punishment would be upheld but the five year cap on the appeals process would fail to survive judicial scrutiny. As it turns out, that prediction was pretty accurate. In typically ambiguous legal language, the CA Supreme Court declared the five year deadline as a mere ‘directive, not a requirement’. For 731 inmates on CA’s death row population, this means their appeals process will continue at a glacial pace and they won’t be headed to the gas chamber any time soon. But for the remaining 15 condemned souls who’ve exhausted their appeals, this means only Governor Brown can save them from death. Whether Brown chooses to commute their sentences remains to be seen, but he didn’t take a public position on Prop 66 last November. Rumors have spread that Brown is deeply opposed to capital punishment due to his Jesuit upbringing, but until he acts, a deadly game of wait and see will play out in CA.

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