A federal judge in California just ruled the death penalty unconstitutional. Why?
According to the Death Penalty Information Center:
U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney held that California's death penalty is so dysfunctional as to amount to cruel and unusual punishment. Vacating the death sentence of Ernest Jones, who has been on death row for almost 20 years, Judge Carney said the punishment cannot serve the purposes of deterrence or retribution when it is administered to a tiny select few, decades after their sentencing: "Inordinate and unpredictable delay has resulted in a death penalty system in which very few of the hundreds of individuals sentenced to death have been, or even will be, executed by the State. It 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." Read the Court's Opinion.
California has sentenced more than 900 people to death row since the 70s but has executed less than 20. I'd call that freakish. Just like I've taught and written about the death penalty in the entire US. Freakish.
Check out these facts of the death penalty just offered by CNN here. There you will find cool graphics will facts about executions per year in the US, executions by country in the world, executions by state, methods of death in the US, race, etc.