"Prosecutors seek to jump start California death penalty," is the AP report, via the Mohave Daily News.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Robert Fairbank’s appeal of his death sentence for the 1985 rape and murder of college student Wendy Cheek.
With that rejection, Fairbank joined at least 13 other death row inmates who have completed the decades-long capital punishment appeals process and are eligible for execution.
Nonetheless, none of the 14 death row inmates who have “exhausted” their appeals will receive a lethal injection any time soon — even though 53 percent of the California electorate reinforced its support of the death penalty with the rejection of Proposition 34 on Nov. 6.
Lawsuits in federal and state courts have halted executions since January 2006 and it will take months, maybe years, to resolve the litigation. Judges have ordered a halt to executions and lawyers with the state’s attorney general’s office have promised not to pursue any executions until the cases are resolved.
Still, a growing number of prosecutors, law enforcement officials and capital punishment proponents are pushing for the quick resumption of execution, citing the defeat of Proposition 34 as a mandate from the voters. They’re calling for an end-run around the legal hang ups, calling for the scrapping of the three-drug lethal injection at the center of the litigation and replacing it with a single-drug execution.
"Reform the death penalty," is the Pasadena Daily-Star editorial.
DESPITE its serious flaws, Californians made it clear on Nov. 6 that they want to keep the death penalty.
A majority of Californians voted down Proposition 34, which would have replaced the sentence with life in prison without the possibility of parole, leaving the expensive and dysfunctional process of state-sponsored executions in place.
We supported the initiative as a cost-effective and humane alternative to our messy and inefficient death penalty, but recognize the will of the voters. Now, the state must do a better job of it.
It's up to supporters - primarily those in the law enforcement community - to push for remedies that make the death penalty more than just a punishment in name only.
There are two clear ways to do that: streamline the cumbersome appeals process and move to a single-drug protocol for lethal injections.
California's death penalty is broken in its current form and does not serve the justice it promises.
Earlier coverage from California begins at the link.