The death penalty has been an ever-present reality in California for many years but it has been rarely used in the state since 2006.
California has taken the stance that death penalty cases should be reserved for special circumstances murder cases and hence has one of the largest Death Rows in the country with more than 700 condemned prisoners.
When a male defendant is sentenced to death he is sent to the designated California State Prison for life where he will remain until his sentence is carried out.
California’s death penalty was put on hold in 2006 following a federal court ruling that the state’s lethal injection procedure was unconstitutional.
The Pros and Cons of the Death Penalty in California
Like many other states California has a long and complicated history with the death penalty.
On one hand supporters of the death penalty argue that it acts as a deterrent to crime and is the only just punishment for certain heinous crimes.
On the other hand opponents of the death penalty argue that it is an ineffective and costly form of punishment that doesn’t address the root causes of crime.
The History of the Death Penalty in California
California’s death penalty has a long and twisted history.
The first laws in the state that allowed for the death penalty were passed in the 1850s though it wasn’t until the 1970s that the law was amended to allow for capital punishment for special cases of murder.
Since then California has seen several different moratoriums on the death penalty the most recent of which was put in place in 2006 following the federal court ruling.
During this time the death penalty has been on hold in the state though executions have still been carried out in other states.
The Current State of the Death Penalty in California
Currently the death penalty remains in place in California though it is rarely carried out.
As of 2018 there are 732 people on California’s Death Row with 13 executions having been carried out since 1978.
California has not carried out an execution since 2006 and it is unlikely that the state will resume executions any time soon.
Since 2006 the state has instead focused on trying to reform the death penalty system and seeking alternative punishments for special cases of murder.
The Cost of the Death Penalty in California
One of the most common arguments against the death penalty is the cost associated with it.
In California the death penalty is estimated to cost taxpayers more than $184 million per year with the cost of appeals alone coming in at around $90 million per year.
This cost has led many to call for the abolishment of the death penalty in California as it is seen as a wasteful use of public funds.
However supporters of the death penalty argue that the cost is worth it if it is an effective deterrent to crime.
The Debate Over the Death Penalty in California
The death penalty remains a hotly debated topic in California with both sides having passionate arguments for and against it.
Supporters of the death penalty argue that it is necessary for justice and is an effective deterrent to crime.
On the other hand opponents of the death penalty argue that it is an ineffective and inhumane form of punishment.
The debate over the death penalty in California is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon as both sides remain passionate in their beliefs.
It is up to the people of California to decide the fate of the death penalty in the state.
Looking to the Future
Given the current state of the death penalty in California it is unclear what the future holds.
It is possible that the state will continue to move away from executions and towards alternative punishments or that executions will resume if the state’s lethal injection procedure is deemed constitutional.
Regardless of what the future holds the death penalty remains a divisive and controversial topic in California with passionate advocates on both sides of the debate.
Only time will tell what the fate of the death penalty in California will be.