Articles Tagged with capital murder

The State of California has not executed an individual since 2006, when its capital punishment procedures relating to lethal injections were declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in Morales v. Tilton, 465 F.Supp. 2d 972 (N.D. Cal 2006). California authorizes capital punishment by gas or lethal injection. The state will continue to hold off on executions for capital crimes.

Governor Issues Moratorium on Executions

Two weeks ago, the Governor of California announced the statewide suspension of death penalty executions, granting a temporary reprieve to the 737 inmates currently on death row. California voters have rejected two initiatives to repeal the death penalty — Proposition 62 in 2016 and Proposition 34 in 2012. Instead, they voted to accelerate the death row appeals process in 2016 with the passage of Proposition 66.

Lethal Injection Procedures Declared Unconstitutional in 2006

The Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, in the Morales case, found California’s death penalty procedures relating to lethal injections flawed. At issue was the drug recipe that was used for the lethal injections. The three-drug compound that made up the lethal injection dose could lead to suffering and an agonizing death if it was not administered carefully, resulting in a violation of the Eight Amendment to the U.S. Constitution’s cruel and unusual punishment clause.

According to BBC reporting, the death penalty is legal in 30 states, including California. Since 1976, California has executed 13 death row inmates. 737 executions remain outstanding, representing the most number of prisoners on death row in the court. Overall 2,738 inmates are on death row nationwide.

As part of the settlement of the Morales case, the state was ordered to submit new procedures for execution by lethal injection. Theoretically, if the court approved the new procedures, executions could resume. The Governor rescinded the lethal injection protocol and closed the San Quentin execution chamber concurrent with his announcement. Continue reading

Early this New year, Governor Jerry Brown has once again denied parole to a former gang member who was convicted of fatally shooting a San Diego police officer in 1978. Jesus Salvador Cecena, 54, was only 17 when he was convicted of first-degree murder for shooting Officer Archie Buggs four times at a traffic stop, in the Skyline neighborhood. This marks the second year in a row the governor reversed the Board’s decision to recommend Cecena for parole. A two-member panel had announced its decision during an August 2015 hearing, citing that he had met the standards under a new law meant to assist prisoners serving long sentences for crimes committed as juveniles. The local police department there obviously launched a campaign against this decision to allow Cecena for parole.

While Brown acknowledged Cecena’s young age at the time, the Governor said in his statement he still believes Cecena would be a threat to society if he were to be released from prison. He claims that Cecena still has not given a credible explanation for his actions. At the sentencing  in the late 1970’s a judge noted the evidence indicated the shooting was calculated and deliberate.  Cecena was sentenced to life in prison and has been locked up since 1979.

The new law referred to be the parole board says the parole board must give “great weight to the diminished culpability of juveniles” and also consider the prisoner’s “maturity and rehabilitation in prison.” Cecena’s prison record indicates he has disavowed association with prison gangs and helps mentor younger prisoners.