California reaches settlement that could allow executions to resume

California reaches settlement that could allow executions to resume

[JURIST] The government of California on Wednesday agreed to a settlement [text] that may lead to the state reinstating the use of its death chamber. Under the terms of the settlement the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) [official website] will provide new regulatory standards for lethal injections after the US Supreme Court rules in Glossip v. Gross [SCOTUSblog materials] on lethal injection protocols. California currently has 750 inmates [San Jose Mercury News report] on death row but has not executed anyone in nearly a decade. If the Supreme Court’s ruling, expected by the end of this month, impedes on CDCR’s abilities then the settlement states that the parties will re-confer.

Use of the death penalty [JURIST backgrounder] has been a controversial issue throughout the US and internationally. Last month Nebraska became the nineteenth US state to ban capital punishment [JURIST report]. In April the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments [JURIST report] on the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s lethal injection procedure. Oklahoma became the face [JURIST report] of the legal injection drug debate last year after death row inmate Clayton Lockett died of an apparent heart attack shortly after doctors called off a failed attempt to execute him using a lethal injection drug called midazolam. Also in April the Delaware Senate voted to repeal [JURIST report] the death penalty. In March Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill [JURIST report] to restore the firing squad as a method of execution, making Utah one of the few states with that option. Like in Oklahoma, if drugs used for lethal injections are unavailable, a firing squad would be allowed.