Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is a legal sentencing option
in the state of California. Since the state’s first recorded death
sentence in 1778, 722 executions have taken place. More than 700 inmates
currently serving time on death row, though executions are currently on
hold due to pending litigation.
Methods of Execution in California
Capital punishment has been carried out via several methods over the years.
Hangings were initially used as the primary method of execution until
being replaced by lethal gas in 1937. This method would continue until
the introduction of death by lethal injection in 1992, with death by gas
later being declared unconstitutional in 1994. Lethal injection is now
the only method of execution in California, though even this method is
under fire due to its possibility of causing an inmate to suffer if administered
Controversy Surrounding Constitutionality
The death penalty has had a long history of debate regarding its constitutionality
and has been declared unconstitutional several times, only to be reinstated
with appeals. The death penalty was originally declared unconstitutional
in 1972 by the California Supreme Court as being in violation of the Eighth
Amendment. Subsequent legislature in 1977 re-enacted the death penalty
as a possible punishment for first degree murder under certain conditions,
such as murder for financial gain, murder of a peace officer, murder of
multiple victims, or murder with torture.
Currently, lethal injections are on hold in California due to ongoing litigation.
Several court cases have debated this topic for nearly a decade, with
the last state execution having occurred in 2006. In 2015, the Sacramento
County Superior Court ruled that state law requires the Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation to devise a way to execute inmates by lethal
injection. As a result of this ruling, a new single-drug method is currently
in development that supposedly is more effective and humane than the previous
three-drug concoction. Executions could resume in 2016, though this is
Despite the continued controversy surrounding the death penalty, it remains
a valid sentence in California for crimes such as treason, perjury resulting
in an innocent person’s execution, and certain forms of
murder. If you have been accused of any of the above offenses, it is imperative
you retain the services of a powerful attorney to protect your future and life.
Contact Blumenthal Law Offices
At Blumenthal Law Offices, our hard-hitting
Riverside criminal defense lawyers can provide the aggressive representation you need to maximize your chances
of securing a desirable outcome for your situation. With more than a century
of combined legal experience, your case is sure to be in excellent hands.
To find out more about what our team of
Super Lawyers® can do for you, call (951) 682-5110 or
contact us online today to
schedule a free consultation.