California Counts

A collaboration between Capital Public Radio, KQED, KPCC and KPBS to cover the 2016 elections in California.

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California High Court Puts Proposition 66 On Hold

AP Photo / Eric Risberg

A guard stands watch over the east block of death row at San Quentin State Prison Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016, in San Quentin, Calif.

AP Photo / Eric Risberg

The California Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a November ballot measure that seeks to streamline the state’s death penalty system to consider a lawsuit filed by Proposition 66 opponents.

That was one of two death penalty measures on California’s November ballot. Voters rejected Proposition 62, which would have abolished capital punishment in the state. They narrowly passed Proposition 66, which is intended to expedite the appeals process for Death Row inmates.

Two days after the election – before the fate of Proposition 66 was clear – the initiative’s opponents filed suit. They argued the measure would disrupt the courts, cost more money and limit the ability to mount proper appeals.

The California Supreme Court says it will consider the lawsuit – and while it does, it’s placing Proposition 66 on hold.

Two of the court’s seven justices, including Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, recused themselves. They sit on the state’s Judicial Council, which is one of the parties named in the lawsuit.