Capitol Alert

August 21, 2014

Kamala Harris will appeal death penalty ruling

California Attorney General Kamala Harris said Thursday she will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that the state’s death penalty is unconstitutional.

Capitol Alert

The go-to source for news on California policy and politics

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.

“California’s death penalty system is so plagued by inordinate and unpredictable delay that the death sentence is actually carried out against only a trivial few of those sentenced to death,” Carney wrote.

The judged vacated the death sentence of Ernest Dewayne Jones, who was convicted in Los Angeles in 1995 for raping and murdering the mother of his girlfriend.

Harris, who is personally opposed to the death penalty, said earlier this month that she was still deciding whether to appeal the case.

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