What the CA Supreme Court’s ruling means for the death penalty going forward

On Thursday, the California Supreme Court upheld many of the provisions of voter-backed Prop 66, the measure meant to speed up executions in California.

This decision will have the biggest impact on the death row inmates that have run out of appeals.

However, the mandate for death penalty appeals to be decided within 5 years of sentencing was rejected as unconstitutional, raising questions about the law’s efficacy in hastening death sentences.

There are currently about 400 pending death penalty appeals in California, a state where there hasn’t been an execution in over ten years, due to court challenges.

Which provisions of Prop 66 were upheld and which were struck down? What does this mean for the death penalty in California going forward? And how does nixing of the five-year mandate affect the efficacy of the new law?


Maura Dolan, San Francisco-based legal affairs writer for the Los Angeles Times; she’s been following this story; she tweets @mauradolan