California’s death penalty violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, a federal judge ruled in a case that could work its way up through the court system.
U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney ruled Wednesday on a petition by death row inmate Ernest Dewayne Jones, who was sentenced to die nearly two decades ago.
The ruling can be appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. A spokesman for Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris said only that her office was reviewing the decision.
“I think it has a shot in the 9th Circuit, but I don’t know about the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Santa Clara University law professor Gerald Uelmen, who chaired a state commission that concluded the system needed substantially more money to operate effectively.
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