June 16, 2009

I did not know that

Lethal injection is only the third leading cause of death on California's death row, following natural causes and suicide.

It takes nearly 25 years to execute a defendant after conviction, and it costs an additional $230 million per year to maintain the death penalty option compared to a regime where the maximum penalty is life in prison without possibility of parole (as it is in Wisconsin).

And while there are approaching 700 inmates on California's death row, there have been only 13 executions since 1976, when the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the reinstatement of capital punishment.*

Good system.

Source: Prof. Gerald F. Uelmen.

* The policies announced in that decision were supposed to mitigate against arbitrariness in imposing the death penalty. However, it still depends on which California county you do your killin' in, as different district attorneys have varying personal attitudes toward seeking it.

Style note: Until the successful confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as the next United States Supreme Court associate justice, this blog will refer to legal rulemaking by the appellate courts as "policymaking."


Jennifer Rouan said...

I didn't know that either. I thought we were still doing the gas. When did we get all namby pamby?

illusory tenant said...

Gas used to be the default method, with a choice of lethal injection. There was a successful challenge to the constitutionality of gas in 1994 — the suffering caused was cruel and unusual — and after a lot of wrangling up and down the federal courts, the legislature changed the default method to lethal injection, with a choice of gas.

But all executions since 1994 have been by lethal injection (and the last execution was almost 3-1/2 years ago).

Scot1and said...

Plus with current gas prices, who can afford it?