In 2006, a U.S. Distroct Court judge in California ruled that if a lethal injection execution was performed incorrectly, it could lead to cruel and unusual punishment, which is prohibited by the eighth amendment to the U.S. constitution. Since that time, no execution of a prisoner has taken place in California, and the issue has been tied up in courts. This week, the de-facto moratorium on California executions was once again upheld in court.
According to a Los Angeles Times report, a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal on Thursday upheld a decision finding that California did not properly meet public disclosure requirements for revised lethal injection procedures. The ruling was unanimous. The state still has the option of appealing the decision to the California Supreme Court.
The ruling reportedly found that California corrections officials failed to adequately inform the public of possible alternative execution styles. In particular, the court found officials failed to justify its policy of using a three-drug method of lethal injection, rather than others, such as a one-drug method that a California state expert had recommended.
The Times reports that California's death row now includes more than 700 inmates. Those inmates are now more likely to die from suicide or natural causes than from execution.