A federal judge in California called the state’s death penalty system “unconstitutional” in an order issued Wednesday, excoriating the system as “arbitrary” and “completely dysfunctional.”
In the sternly-worded order, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney said the state’s system is so riddled with delays that the death penalty has been stripped “of any deterrent or retributive effect it might once have had.”
“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,” he wrote.
Carney’s order was related to the case of Ernest Dewayne Jones, who was sentenced to death in 1995 for raping and killing Julia Miller in 1992. The judge vacated Jones’s death sentence in the order, writing that letting California’s system threaten Jones with death nearly two decades after his sentencing “violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.”
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/07/16/federal-judge-says-californias-death-penalty-system-is-unconstitutional/