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Victory For California Death Penalty Supporters in Federal Appeals Court

 Edward Stojakovic/Flickr

San Quentin Prison holds California's death row inmates.

Edward Stojakovic/Flickr

A federal appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling that found California’s death penalty to be so plagued with delays that it’s unconstitutional.

Unlike other court cases that have focused on how California executes inmates – such as whether its three-drug lethal injection method constitutes cruel and unusual punishment – this case centered on the appeals process before an execution.

The lower court said last year the process took so long and was so uncertain that it was unconstitutional. Now, a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed that ruling, saying that the case puts forth a new constitutional theory that must be denied.

In recent days, the state corrections department has proposed a single lethal injection to replace the three-drug method – the latest step toward restarting executions in California.

The state has put just 13 condemned inmates to death since California voters passed the state’s current death penalty system in 1978.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio