A federal judge’s decision striking down California’s death penalty would be unlikely to receive a warm reception from the U.S. Supreme Court, which repeatedly has turned away similar challenges during the past 20 years.
U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney of Santa Ana, Calif., ruled on July 16 in Jones v. Chappell that the state’s death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The state’s death penalty, he held, is arbitrary and no longer serves the purposes of deterrence and retribution because of systemic delays.
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