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News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Death penalty up for legal review today in California

by Take Two®

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Scott Langley of Boston, Massachusetts, holds a banner during a vigil against death penalty in front of the U.S. Supreme Court July 1, 2008 in Washington, DC. The Abolition Action Committee and the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty held the ?Vigil to Abolish the Death Penalty to mark the 1972 and 1976 Supreme Court rulings that suspended the death penalty in the United States and later allowed executions to resume. Alex Wong/Getty Images

It's been more than seven years since anyone was executed in California, but today in Northern California, an appeals court will hear arguments from the state about the death penalty. 

At issue is California's method of execution, said Ellen Kreitzberg, a professor of law at Santa Clara University. 

"There are several challenges to the death penalty, but the one they're hearing today deals with the state's procedures—or more accurately—their failure to follow procedures in writing the specific regulations in how to administer the death penalty, what drugs to use and how they should take care of inmates leading up to a execution," she said. 

Kreitzberg explains that there are currently no regulations in place to administer a death penalty in California. But even if protocol is changed, it could be over a year before anyone is executed.

"The attorney general's office could say 'we're not going to keep appealing, let's just write a new procedure' ... but even that process would take somewhere close to 18 months,'" she said. 

What do you think? Do you support the death penalty?

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