The California Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the state’s current death penalty law, rejecting an attempt to make a sentence harder.
Under the current system, jurors are not required to agree unanimously on the specific provoking factors used to justify the execution of a death sentence. The court upheld the long-standing practice in a 7-0 decision.
“We have previously held that the state’s constitution does not require jury consensus on the existence of dire circumstances,” Justice Goodwin Liu wrote On behalf of the unanimous court.
He wrote that the death penalty might be justified if the state made the change, noting that the state attorney general’s office also agreed that such a requirement would “reform our system of the death penalty and make it more credible” and state lawmakers should consider this change.
“Nevertheless, our Legislature and the electorate have not imposed such requirements to date,” Liu wrote, and the court found that there is no such mandate in state law or the Constitution.
The court ruled that there was no legal backing for a change to the death penalty law, and that doing so could have reduced the death sentences of California’s nearly 700 condemned prisoners.
Although the death penalty is banned in California by Governor Gavin Newsom, it only lasts as long as he is in office, and in many cases it can take up to 25 years to be fully prosecuted.
Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, who wrote a brief Welcoming the unanimous decision of the state Supreme Court supporting the death penalty.
The foundation said that ruling otherwise would have “a devastating effect on hundreds of qualified judgments for horrific crimes.”
In a written debate in court, Newsom, a Democrat, called for changes to the way the death penalty is implemented, arguing that the system discriminates against black and Latino defendants.
Newsom spokeswoman Erin Mellon said the court “missed an opportunity to correct one of the many flaws in California’s death penalty.” He said the executions are irreversible and the process discriminates not only on race but also against those who are poor or mentally ill.
Only 13 prisoners have been executed since 1992, and the state has not executed any since 2006.
according to a Nationwide Survey from Pew Research Center Released in June, 60 percent of 5,109 American adults supported the death penalty as a punishment for murder, with 27 percent in the stronger side. About 39 percent of participants said they oppose the death penalty, with 15 percent strongly opposed.
Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly expressed support for the death penalty and reintroduced the practice at the federal level last year after a 17-year hiatus. Trump argued that executions serve as an effective deterrent and appropriate punishment for some crimes, including mass shootings and killings of police officers.
President Joe Biden, meanwhile, is the first US president to openly oppose the death penalty. Last month, the Justice Department announced it was halting federal executions pending a review of its policies and procedures.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times