Today's Los Angeles Times reports, "Atty. Gen. Harris seeks to overturn ban on California executions," by Maura Dolan.
A federal judge's "flawed" decision declaring California's enforcement of the death penalty unconstitutional will be appealed, Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris announced Thursday.
Harris will ask the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn last month's ruling by U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney, who said decades-long delays and uncertainty about whether inmates will be executed violated the Constitution's 8th Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
"I am appealing the court's decision because it is not supported by the law, and it undermines important protections that our courts provide to defendants," Harris said.
Harris personally opposes the death penalty, but promised voters that she would enforce it. Legal analysts said the fate of Carney's ruling will depend in part on which 9th Circuit judges are randomly selected to review it.
Carney's ruling that California's death penalty system was dysfunctional sparked national attention. The judge, who serves in Orange County and was appointed by former President George W. Bush, noted that more than 900 people have been sentenced to death in California since 1978, but only 13 have been executed.
"California to appeal federal ruling on state's death penalty practices," is AP coverage, via the Guardian.
The announcement Thursday by Attorney General Kamala Harris came after US District Judge Cormac Carney in Los Angeles ruled last month that the state’s death penalty takes too long to carry out, and that the unpredictable delays are arbitrary and unfair.
Death penalty foes have long argued that California’s delays amounted to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment, but until Carney’s ruling, the argument failed to persuade a judge.
Harris, however, said the amount of time it takes to execute inmates in California ensures they receive due process.
“I am appealing the court’s decision because it is not supported by the law, and it undermines important protections that our courts provide to defendants,” Harris said in a prepared statement. “This flawed ruling requires appellate review.”
Death penalty foes had called on Harris to let Carney’s ruling stand rather than risk a reversal in the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
“We hope the 9th Circuit will recognize that California’s death penalty system is as broken and unconstitutional as Judge Cormac found,” Matt Cherry, executive director of Death Penalty Focus, which seeks to abolish capital punishment, said in response to Harris’s move.
"Kamala Harris will appeal death penalty ruling," is by David Siders for the Sacramento Bee.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris said Thursday she will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that the state’s death penalty is unconstitutional.
“I am appealing the court’s decision because it is not supported by the law, and it undermines important protections that our courts provide to defendants,” Harris, a Democrat, said in a prepared statement. “This flawed ruling requires appellate review.”
The appeal comes after U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney ruled in July that the state’s administration of the death penalty is so dysfunctional that it violates the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
Earlier coverage of the California Federal District Court's ruling begins at the link.