The Central District of California ruling in Jones v. Chappell is available in Adobe .pdf format.
National Journal posts, "Federal Judge Rules Death Penalty Unconstitutional in California," by Dustin Volz.
A federal judge has struck down California's death penalty on grounds the system is so broken it violates the Constitution.
In his opinion, Judge Cormac Carney said the state's death sentences are not carried out in any reasonable, timely or organized manner and therefore should be abolished.
The death penalty has been lawful in California since 1976, when the Supreme Court overturned a national moratorium on the practice. In 2012, a proposition to end the death penalty in California was defeated at the polls, with 53 percent of voters turning it down.
The state has only executed 13 people during that time, with the most recent, Clarence Ray Allen, being put to death in 2006.
"Federal judge rules California death penalty unconstitutional; vacates prisoner's sentence," is the initial AP report, via the Tribune.
The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney follows a similar ruling in Northern California that has kept the death penalty on hold in California for years.
Ruling in the case of a prisoner who was condemned in 1994, Carney wrote that inordinate and unpredictable delays have resulted in a death penalty system in which arbitrary factors determine whether an individual will actually be executed.
Carney vacated the death sentence of Ernest Dewayne Jones.
"Federal Judge Strikes Down California's Death Penalty," is by Mollie Reilly at HuffPost.
A federal judge has ruled that California's death penalty system is unconstitutional.
U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney handed down an order Wednesday, finding that the system is arbitrary and in violation of the Constitution's 8th Amendment.
"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," Carney writes. "For all practical purposes then, a sentence of death in California is a sentence of life imprisonment with the remote possibility of death -- a sentence no rational legislature or jury could ever impose."
Carney continues: "Inordinate and unpredictable delay... has resulted in a system in which arbitrary factors, rather than legitimate ones like the nature of the crime or the date of the death sentence, determine whether an individual will actually be executed. And it has resulted in a system that serves no penological purpose. Such a system is unconstitutional."
NBC News Bay Area posts, "Federal Judge Rules Death Penalty Unconstitutional in California," by Lisa Fernandez.
The case stems from a 1995 case of Ernest Dewayne Jones who sued Kevin Chappell, the warden of the California State Prison at San Quentin.