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Is California’s death penalty system unconstitutional?

September 10, 2015

By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

Former California State Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George once joked: “The leading cause of death on California’s death row is old age.” His joke has some thruth to it. The state has not executed anyone in over a decade. In that time, more than 50 death row inmates have died, mostly of natural causes or suicide.

The state’s seemingly endless appeals process has been declared “arbitrary” and unconstitutional by a federal district judge. In 2014, the state’s death row procedures were challenged in court in the case of Jones v. Davis. The judge found that the length of time prisoners spent on death row, the lengthy review and appeals process, and the fact that executions were so few and seemingly random had little impact as a crime deterrent.

Judge Cormac J. Carney of the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana found that the tangled and prolonged review process led to a dysfunctional system in which of the more than 900 people sentenced to death row, only 13 have been executed since 1978, when the state reinstated the death penalty.

Carney wrote that the “random few” who are put to death “will have languished for so long on death row that their execution will serve no retributive or deterrent purpose and will be arbitrary.” Citing delays that can last up to 25 years or more, the judge ruled the state violated the 740 death row prisoners’ Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

Death row inmates can wait up five years for the state to appoint a qualified defense lawyer. They are allowed two state-level appeals and then an appeal at the federal court level. The state’s review process can take decades, and the safeguards put in place to prevent unwarranted executions have led to a system in which inmates can languish for decades on death row, more likely to die from natural causes, accident or suicide than by lethal injection.

Executions in California have been under a moratorium since 2006 because of disputes over the method of lethal injection, extending prisoners’ wait on death row.

Now the state is asking a three-judge panel at a federal appeals court to overturn Carney’s ruling. The state argues that the decades it can take to complete the review process is a signal that the system is working and that the process is a necessary safeguard against executing someone innocent of a crime. The process, state Attorney General Kamala D. Harris argued, is scrupulously fair.

The state is required to ensure that all those condemned have access to top lawyers and a lengthy review process, allowing time for defense lawyers to build their case. Both death penalty advocates and opponents are looking at national implications for the case. But its effect will most likely not extend beyond California, said Ohio State law professor Douglas A. Berman, due to the state’s high rate of death penalty convictions but slow pace of executions. “Voters, and perhaps the executive branch, too, are not that troubled with a system that has lots of death sentences and few executions,” Berman said in a New York Times interview.

There are now 17 people on California’s death row who have exhausted their appeals and could be scheduled for execution, if the state chooses to reopen its execution chamber.

What do you think?

Is the California death penalty system constitutional? Do you agree or disagree with Judge Carney that the state violated inmates’ Eighth Amendment protection? Does the state of California make a strong case defending its death penalty system? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
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Comments
10/16/2018
Murrieta
Christine
Jabro/ MCA
I believe it is constitutional and for those on " death row " deserve the sentence they receive , you committed a bad enough crime for the death penalty so you should just come to realize that it is what it is.

10/2/2018
Murrieta, CA
Dylan
Jabro,MCA
The system takes to long for inmates to be put to death, there needs to be change within this time frame. This costs people more to keep them alive over time. Sometimes I miss the days of frontier justice since this wouldn't cost any one anything as long as it was done according to law. Even if inmates have set rights committing a major felony takes said rights away.

10/1/2018
Murrieta/CA
Sarah
Jabro/MCA
I believe the California Death Penalty System is constitutional. I also agree with Judge Carney that the state violates inmates' Eighth Amendment protection.

9/27/2018
Murrieta Canyon Academy
Rahman
Jabro
No, I believe it is. Crimes of that caliber should be treated accordingly. If you deserve death for your crime, then you do. Its as simple as that.

9/27/2018
Murrieta/California
Nyah
Jabro / Mca
I believe people should only be executed for major crimes such as murder and rape, not small crimes such as drugs.

9/27/2018
Murrieta/CA
Sophia
Jabro/MCA
I believe the death penalty is constitutional. If you are guilty of the crimes you have committed then you should be penalized accordingly. I think California does have a strong case defending the death penalty system.

9/27/2018
Murrieta/CA
Hannah Abou
Jabro/MCA
The death penalty should be used on people who have killed multiple and cannot stop no matter what. These people should be killed right away after proving that they are guilty. There shouldn't be a wait because they might escape during this wait or kill someone. They deserve no mercy because they did not give mercy to the ones they have murdered so why should they get a chance?

9/25/2018
Murrieta/CA
Greta
Jabro/ Murrieta Canyon Academy
I feel like the death penalty should be used ONLY for serial killers/rapists that have been proven guilty.

9/25/2018
Murrieta
Tommie
Jabro/MCA
I feel like the death penalty should be mattered on the crime. If they murder someone they should get the death penalty because they took someone else's life. Yes California does have a strong case defending its death penalty.

9/25/2018
murrieta/ca
Nick
Jabro/MCA
In my opinion i feel like the death row is letting some inmates with some leeway because when you are on death row you should be killed right away.

9/25/2018
California
emma allen
Mr.Jabro
I do not think that California's death penalty system is unconsitutional.However,I do belive thet there are many faults in it and there is many mays they can improve the system.

9/25/2018
murrieta/CA
sarah
jabro/mca
In my opinion I think that the death penalty is constitutional for the people that murder, rape, or brutally hurt other innocent people. The deserve to feel the pain that they put other people in.

9/25/2018
Murritea/Ca
Ramoni
Jabro/Murrieta
I think that the death penalty should be used for people who commit two or more murders and should be used for rapists.

9/25/2018
Murrieta/ CA
Anthony
Jabro/ MCA
Most of the people on death row in California have not revived rightful trial. They can be on death-row for decades, and not given a chance at trial due to the lack of legal support because of the low execution rate. This policy is old, and the majority of the deaths of prisoners on death-row happen to be suicides or natural causes. I think the system needs to be looked at again, and give prisoners a proper due process.

9/25/2018
Murrieta/California
Chloe
Jabro/Murrieta Canyon Academy
The death penalty in California should only be used on people who were responsible for horrific crimes but at the same time death is to easy of a punishment for a person whos a monster. They won't even be able to suffer half of the amount the person did when they were slaughtered. Why show mercy to a cold blooded killer when none was shown to the victim.

9/25/2018
Murrieta/Ca
azim smith
Jabro/Murritea
I honestly do not think the death penalty is used correctly. Youre killing a murderer because they murdered someone

9/25/2018
Murrieta/ California
alexis
jabro/ Murrieta canyon academy
I think the death penilty should be used only if a criminal has done something extremilly bad

9/18/2018
Los Angele/CA
jarmaine
Jabro/Murritea
I think that California should only use the death penalty for people that had killed more then one person and that they should use it for criminals

3/6/2018
Murrieta/California
jonathan baker
Jabro/Tenaja Academy
I feel it matters on the crime if the person murders I believe they should get the death penalty like they say an eye for an eye. Also why should we have to pay tax money to shelter a murder who has hurt so many I feel that the people who lost someone due to this person would be much happier if that person was gone.

2/26/2018
murrieta
leslie
jabro/mca
I feel that the californias death penalty is unconstitutional because the length of time the prisoners dont actually know how long till their execution will be meaning this takes away the right of a person

2/23/2018
Murrieta/CA
Megan
Jabro/MCA
The death penalty is unarguably one of the most controversial topics of all times. In my opinion, I do not believe that it should be at the discretion of the government to take life from other humans. However, I do not disagree with life sentences for horrendous crimes.

12/18/2017
Magnolia, TX
Branden
William Metzger, MWHS
The death penalty is a harsh punishment to some people. But, if we take a look at the history of death penalties and compare them to how California treats their death row inmates, letting convicted criminals sit on death row and die of old age is not a bad way to go. Most people wish and hope to die of old age. So for people to say it's unconstitutional for an inmate to die of old age, is astonishing.

10/9/2017
Murrieta
Marie Durón
Jabro/mca
I'm in between with this being constitutional and unconstitutional. For one I think it's a great idea to have a long death penalty to be processed for those who were wrongfully accused of a crime they did not commit but for those who've Raped,murdered etc those who were innocent shouldn't just get a an easy way out of living by being executed . I believe they should suffer and rot in prison so they can think long and hard about everything they've done that only a monster could do. They need to see that why they did do is wrong and to see what they've done in their point of view but someone doing what they did but to someone they loved.

10/4/2017
Murrieta/California
Allyssa
Jabro/MCA
I think the death penalty system is constitutional because the people who did the horrible things to be given the death penalty deserve to have those things done back to them. They shouldn't be given a small punishment for what they did and they deserve to be hurt back!

9/19/2017
Murrieta,Ca
Monique
Jabro/MCA
I think the death penalty is unconstitutional. In the 8th amendment it says it protects against cruel and unusual punishment. There could be an innocent person put on death row for something they probably didn't do. If they did something horrible they should be put in prison for life.

9/19/2017
Murrieta/California
Kiara
Jabro/MCA
I think the California death penalty system is constitutional because these people have committed horrible crimes. They don't deserve living in jail eating food when so many innocent people in this world don't have a roof or food.

9/19/2017
Murrieta Ca.
Jacob
Jabro/MCA
i think the death penalty is is 100% constitutional! If someone were to brutally kill, rape, beat, or anything that puts you in death row to one of the people i love i would want them to share the same fate. It's fair. So if i would want justice then why cant everyone have it

9/19/2017
Murrieta
velma
jabro/ MCA
I think it is constitutional to a sectarian point because if someone had killed another person in the wrong then they should be killed. I don't think that they should be alive if they feel like they can take anothers life in there own hands

9/19/2017
Murrieta/CA
Liam
Jabro/MCA
I believe this long death penalty process is a good thing. It helps prevent the falsely accused from being executed.We have have to have the death penalty I would prefer this model over any other. I can see that it can be a huge waste of time for some, but I would rather have people go through this process than kill an innocent man.

9/19/2017
murrieta
kendall
jabro MCA
i think the death penalty system is constitutional because anyone who is given the death penalty did a horrible crime and it helps make the jails less crowded but theres also the chance that the courts were wrong and the person didnt commit a crime

9/19/2017
murrieta
spencer
jabro/MCA
if someone is charged with a crime including murder or rape i think they deserve the death penalty 100%

9/19/2017
Murrieta
Parker Belle
Jarbro/MCA
I think the death penalty is constitutional anyone who is given that penalty has committed a horrendous crime and should not be given another chance to harm someone again. The people convicted are sick and have something wrong with their thought process and should not be aloud near other people to plot or harm someone else.

9/15/2017
Murrieta/CA
Marjon Alemi
Jabro/ MCA
I honestly do not think the death penalty is used correctly. Youre killing a murderer because they murdered someone.. People who do these horrible and terrible crimes deserve long time punishment where they have to live everyday thinking and suffering the rest of their lives due to the decisions and disgusting things they have done.

9/15/2017
murrieta CA
Jaydee
jabro/mca
I think the California death penalty is not constitutional because there's always the possibility that someone innocent is being sentenced to this extremity and i know if that were me i would think so. I think life in prison is a better punishment unless there is undeniable evidence against them and the severity of their crime is really bad. I don't agree with Judge Carney when he says it violated the eighth amendment protection because for some people this extremity might suit some cases if they are a major threat to society. I also think the state of California does make a strong case defending it's death penalty system to make sure no one is wrongly accused and has a chance to be proven guilty or not guilty.

9/13/2017
Murrieta/Ca
Adam D.
Jabro/MCA
The death penalty in my opinion isn't used the right way in society today. I honestly would say the only way you should be sentenced to death, is if you commit murder. But if they commit murder they need to rot in prison for maybe like 10-25 years in prison, basically until they are old and or start to die out. Then that's when you should put them to the death penalty. Most people that are and or were in prison tend to either go back or just keep doing wrong after they get out. If we put down a better penalty for them. Maybe then they will think twice before doing anything that could possibly get them in trouble with the law or maybe even put to death. Everyone has a different opinion about the death penalty, so i honestly would leave it up to the citizens to vote and see what they believe in. No one should have any say on who lives and who dies, but in certain cases like this, i believe everyone else should decide what they want today.

9/13/2017
Murrieta, California
Lillee
Jabro/MCA
I believe that California's death penalty is unconstitutional because lethal injection is a painful way to die unlike many other effective less painful deaths like shooting them.

9/10/2017
murrieta,California
nedra
mr.jabro mca
believe everyone deserves a second chance or even a few more no one should hang your death in front of your face i believe that no one should be able to have that much control from personal experiences and others the system is definitely flawed extremely

3/1/2017
Murrieta, Claifornia
Zachary Radil
Mr. Jabro, MCA
While I disagree with the idea that the death penalty is unconstitutional, I do believe that it is flawed. I do also, believe that Carney is wrong in his idea of their eighth amendment being violated, as I feel that is someone who is guilty of a crime becoming of death, that it may be justice that they wait some long for death to come to them, suffering as they should. I do also concur with the states argument, saying that it is fair, and works, just very scrupulously. With all the barriers it also stops innocent men from being executed for the crimes of the guilty, even if it does take so long to exonerate them.

2/27/2017
Murrieta, California
Joshua Walton
Mr. Jarbo, MCA
I believe that California's death penalty system is unconstitutional. However, if the criminal that is being prosecuted has a severe enough charge, a cruel or unusual punishment is well deserved. The death penalty is dysfunctional, due to the amount of time it takes to actually occur. There's no purpose to it because a large majority of the inmates on death row either take their own life or die from natural causes.

2/24/2017
Murrieta,CA
Brianna
Mr.Jabro/MCA
I think California death penalty is unconstitutional because theres a list of inmates waiting to know if they're going to be executed. the court might as well just give them a long sentence of time in prison.

2/23/2017
Murrieta, CA
Zoe
Mr.jabro /MCA
i think the death penalty is a good thing that California should keep but maybe be fixed a little like if someone killed someone they deserve the death penalty but if someone accidentally killed someone they should just have to do a long jail sentence

2/15/2017
Murrieta, CA
Lauryn
mr.jabro / MCA
It seems unconstitutional to hold someones death in front of there face with little to no chance of freeing themselves . Knowing everyday you sit in a cell and the only thing you have to look forward to is the death .

2/14/2017
Murrieta / California
Owen
Mr.Jabro
I think that no matter if its against the constitution or not it should be legal. If somebody commits murder than its only equal if they die too.Life for life is how i look at. That is the only crime that should be considered for the death penalty! as far as judge Carney violating inmates eighth amendment that he did violate it but in my opinion that should not be there in the first place.

2/6/2017
Murrieta, CA
Chandler
Mr. Jabro/ MCA
In my opinion, anyone who rapes or murders an innocent person deserves cruel and unusual punishment. But that would be unconstitutional. I feel that the California death penalty system is unconstitutional because those people deserve the punishment they are supposed to get but often do not end up getting it. So they sit and live their lives waiting on the government to make up it's mind on whether that individual deserves what are sentenced.

6/3/2016
Murrieta California
Marco
Mr Jabro Creekside
If someones murders a man or woman or even a child i believe they should be put on death penalty why should that person live after killing another? Just so he or she can get out and do it again,if you murder someone i believe that that person should be put on death row

3/20/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Jullian
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg
I believe that California's death penalty is unconstitutional. I believe it is unconstitutional because lethal injection is a painful way to die unlike many other effective less painful death penalties such as shooting them or even the electric chair which use to be used often. That is why I believe California's death penalty system is unconstitutional.

3/18/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Isabel A.
Mr. Hanna/ Sburg JHS
I belive that the death penalty is unconstitutional. I feel this way because the "best way" to execute someone is often painful and doesn't work. The lethal injection might take multiple try's to work. In addition, the inmates are in jail/ death row for so long that most of them are already dead. Also it's cost less of the people's money to keep the criminal in jail than to execute them. And someone should not have to wait this long to see if they are going to be killed. But isn't it weird how the punishment for death is death? It's so hypocritical, you are trying to show people that it is wrong to kill by killing someone. Killing a person is against the law, so why is it ok when the justice system does? How is it fair that they get to kill the people who have committed a crime but those people who commit the crime have to die because the justice system is above the law? In conclusion the death penalty is unconstitutional and I do not belive that California has a strong case.

3/17/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Basil
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I feel that the California Death Penalty is unconstitutional because it takes too long which could do some mental damage to the prisoner because they know that they will die and everything they do from that point on is useless. I feel this makes prisoners want to escape and try to take refuge and get more people in trouble which is more work for the government. I agree with what Judge Cormac J. Carney of the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana said because he felt that the execution took to long and too much money (over a $1,000,000). I feel that what the California Government said was not strong and that there responds was lacking.

3/17/2016
Stroudsburg/PA
Asia H.
Mr. Hanna/ stroudsburg junior high
I believe that California's death penalty is unconstitutional. First of all, as the article started, the time the inmates spend on death row, the execution serves no purpose because most of them are already dead. Plus, if they do survive to the execution the lethal injections are sometimes painful and fail to work. Sometimes it even takes multiple tries for the lethal injection to even work. Its actually much cheeper to keep the criminals in prison than to execute them. Which means our taxes aren't so high; the taxpayers are the ones who pay for the criminals to be in jail and to get executed and we would all want lower taxes. Executing is cruel and harsh punishment itself. Also have the people the people on death row commited a crime that was worth killing them for? Some of those people have killed one or two people while others have killed hundreds and only get life in prison Is there a limit or an exception of crimes to get the death penalty, at what crime do we decide to take others life. The death penalty is basically killing people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong. It's a very hypocritical sentence on the state of California's part. In conclusion, yes the death penalty is unconstitutional. And no, I do not believe that California has a strong case.

3/16/2016
Stroudsburg Pa
Mahogany
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I don't think that California death penalty was constitutional because they shouldn't have to wait that long just to see when they are going to get excuted. I agree with the judge because it's unsual.i think Cali doesn't have a strong case.

3/16/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Salome
Mr. Hanna/ JHS
I think that they shouldn't open there execution chambers, Because in my opinion executing them would be better then to spend the rest of your life in jail, so that would be the essay easy out. No the California death penalty system isn't constitutional, because it Violet's the eighth amendment (protection against cruel and unusual punishments). I agree with judge carney, because their executions well no longer serve purpose anymore. No the state of California doesn't make a strong case defending its death penalty, because it's still not decided weather it should be a good idea to reopen the execution chamber there for the state hasn't "protected" it enough.

3/15/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Tojah
Mr. Hanna/JHS
I dont think that California death penalty system is unconstitutional. I believe this because when people have done such a huge crime, such as murder of a huge person like president or something, they shouldn't just go to jail to it. Death should be an option to killing someon

3/15/2016
Stroudsburg, pa
Tristan
Mr. Hanna/stroudsburg jhs
Honestly, in our opinion people should not be killed. Everyone in this life makes mistakes, plus some people are not always guilty. innocent people have been executed. Really no one should be killed. Although some people do have sick minds they should just be held in prison & have to learn their lesson and suffer

3/15/2016
Stroudsburg PA
Carter Heny
Mr. Hanna/ Stroudsburg JHS
I think the death penalty is constitutional because they deserve what they get. I think it isn't violating their 8th amendment because the people have to wait up to 5 years to get their court case. I also think that judge Carney is right.

3/15/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Willie
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I believe that the California death penalty system is Constitutional. It takes a long time to execute someone, but that could be a good thing. First, it would allow more time to see your family, if they had any. Also it would give more time for people to review the case. I do not think judge Carney's claim that it violates the 8th Amendment is valid. It can really only help the death row inmates. The state of California has a great argument. If the death row inmates are innocent then that long time would help them find out who is guilty or innocent.

3/2/2016
Sidney/Mt
Dillon
Faulhaber/Sidney High School
I find the death penalty constitutional because those people waiting to get executed did something horrible to get there. America spends a lot of money to keep prisoners in prison and, why would you want to spend so much money on someone who's done something awful? However, I do find it somewhat ironic that the penalty for death is death, but if you place death on someone, someone is obviously going to want some revenge. That person took a life from someone they cared for. The fact that death is waiting for you happens to everyone every single day. We need to come to realize that death is inevitable, and is unfortunate, which is something that another person had to grieve with because someone killed someone they had a relationship with. In all honesty, I could fight for both sides, but I find, when it comes down to money and the fairness of people grieving, death for someone horrible can be considered constitutional.

2/25/2016
Murrieta, CA
Kameo
Jabro/Creekside
I believe that California's death penalty is a joke. Yes, the state should take action when they sentence someone to this, but it is so easy just to put someone on death row, whether their innocent or not, than to just dig deeper to find the truth.

2/11/2016
Ca
Kevin Rodriguez
Jabro/Creekside
I do not feel like the California death penalty is unconstitutional at all. States have the right to handle their own justice systems for the crimes committed within their state. If the crime was bad enough that the death penalty was the solution, then so be it. Plus the method of the California Penalty is Lethal Injection when their are way harsher penalties to be given this is the kindest. So no the method and the death penalty in California is not unconstitutional at all.

1/27/2016
Sidney, MT
Camden
Mr. Faulhaber
While the circumstances surrounding the California death penalty show it to be completely useless and inefficient, it is still a constitutional system. The appeal process has always been lengthy in any state that uses the death penalty, and while none are quite as consistently inefficient as California, there are still death row members who can take up to twenty years for their sentence to come. This waiting is not all that cruel and unusual as far as California is concerned, as from the article it appears that being on death row is more akin to getting sentenced to life in prison, as most of those caught in the appeal process die of natural causes rather than facing their sentence. Since the process is pretty much the exact same as being sent to life in prison, which is in essence a form of the death penalty in which one lives in a prison cell until such time as their natural death, and given that this life in prison sentence is considered humane and constitutional, it stands to reason that California’s process is no less so. To be perfectly honest, if California intends to keep running this life internment with very little actual executions, then they should just remove their death penalty system and administer life sentences, which would give near-identical results to their current process and remove the monetary cost of going through their extremely lengthy appeal process.

12/11/2015
Murrieta California
Killian
Mr. Jabro
California's "death sentence" is a joke that there are 900 people waiting for there punishment since 1978. More inmates have died rotting in a prison before they get there Death sentence if someone receive this sentence give it to them most of them deserve it. It just dumb to sentence someone to death and they just waste money tax dollars from just the living cost.

12/11/2015
Dimand Bar/CA
AndyP5
Wong/Lorbeer
I do believe that California's death penalty is unconstitutional. This is because the length time it takes for the prisoner to be executed. It will take an awful amount of time to find a defense lawyer so prisoners wait up to about 5 years. The prisoners aren't suppose to wait that long for anything even for the state's review that can take even decades. The inmates usually just die from natural causes or by suicide because they can't bare to be lethally injected. It is unconstitutional and cruel to the heart to inject a substance to extend prisoner's wait on death row. This is even protected in the Eighth Amendment against cruel and unusual punishment.

12/11/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
JonathanP5
Wong/Lorbeer
I believe that the California death penalty is unconstitutional, inmate given the death sentence should not have have a delayed fate. I agree with Judge Cormac J. Carney, the wait of up to 25 years or more for your execution is a cruel and unusual punishment. With the amount of prisoners on California's death row and the number of executions, prisoners are more likely to serve a life sentence while waiting for their execution. The state should just throw away the death penalty altogether if executions are not going to happen to the inmates. Just waiting and knowing that you can die at any day is a cruel punishment in itself. Therefore, the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment right of death row inmates and is unconstitutional.

12/11/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
JerikaP4
Wong/Lorbeer
I find the death penalty constitutional because those people waiting to get executed did something horrible to get there. America spends a lot of money to keep prisoners in prison and, why would you want to spend so much money on someone who's done something awful? However, I do find it somewhat ironic that the penalty for death is death, but if you place death on someone, someone is obviously going to want some revenge. That person took a life from someone they cared for. The fact that death is waiting for you happens to everyone every single day. We need to come to realize that death is inevitable, and is unfortunate, which is something that another person had to grieve with because someone killed someone they had a relationship with. In all honesty, I could fight for both sides, but I find, when it comes down to money and the fairness of people grieving, death for someone horrible can be considered constitutional.

12/11/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
UriahP.4
Wong/Lorbeer
David Lorbeer/Diamond Bar 12/10/15 In David's response, he said that death penalty is constitutional. I totally agree with him because he states that the prisoners are getting executed for the major crimes they did and that it's their fault, and it's true, they're the one who did an awful crime so they get an awful punishment. I believe that he also is on my side, by saying that if they commit suicide or die of natural causes that it still isn't enough punishment, for the major crime they commit. Also he states that many people say it cruel and unusual, it doesn't show that them killing the victims is unusual and i can't agree anymore than i can on this statement.

12/11/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
UriahP.4
Wong/Lorbeer
Victoria Lorbeer/Pomona 12-6-15 The comment that Victoria made is that California's death penalty system is unconstitutional, because the eighth amendment protects cruel and unusual penalties. I disagree, because though the eighth amendment does protect cruel and unusual punishment, the punishment is not unusual because it has happened more than once of course, and there isn't anymore punishment you can do to these other people than kill them, and let them face their crime. I believe that this punishment is not but is fair because, usually the prisoner faces a death penalty when they murder or kill someone, and what's more cruel than that. Also she states that in Texas people have waited 25 years to be executed, but in this case we aren't talking about Texas we are talking about California's death penalty, not Texas.

12/11/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
UriahP.4
Wong/Lorbeer
In my opinion, I believe that California's death penalty system is constitutional. The reason why is because many prisoners go to jail for awful things, and sometimes they do such awful and horrible crimes that the police can only put them in jail for all their life. Due to that they can still escape, and just redo those crimes all over again, and that is why the death penalty system works out fine, because if they're in prison their whole life and they commit suicide or they die off without anything being done, than that's not enough punishment, because they're still breathing and doing well. Even the constitution states that criminals need fair enough punishment for what they did. Many people say that the death penalty is cruel and unfair, but what is really unfair is the crime they did to get in that position.

12/11/2015
Diamond Bar/CA
Randy P5
Wong/Lorbeer Middle school
I believe that California’s death penalty system is unconstitutional. I believe this because most death penalties are given when someone commits a murder; we are resolving a murder case with more murder. Also everyone is different so the lethal injection can take more time and it can make them suffer. The eighth amendment protects people against cruel and unusual punishments and the death penalty is a cruel punishment so that’s why it should be unconstitutional.

12/11/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
Emily T
Wong/Lorbeer
The California death penalty should be unconstitutional because it's not fair to have a bunch of prisoners sitting in a jail cell waiting for their execution day to come. Sure it may sound cruel spending most of your life in jail but at least you're not getting killed or your head chopped of like in our textbooks. Many people sent to the death penalty but only 13 out of 900 have actually been executed most spend their lives in prison and die of natural causes or kill themselves. If we start killing people because they broke the law will give the government to much power and we will be a more civilized version of barbarians.

12/10/2015
Pomona/California
Monica/ 5th
Wong/Lorbeer
There is no way that the death penalty system is constitutional! The people who inject the criminal with that injection are technically murderers. They are killing people. I do not care if they are rapists, murderers, psychopaths. They are still living people. Yes they may have done horrible things to other people but, that doesn't give officials the right to inject something into them to kill them. Furthermore, whoever puts lethal injections into people who are on "death row" are the real criminals.

12/10/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
AllyP4
Wong/Lorbeer
I believe that California's death penalty law is unconstitutional. I believe this to be true because of the length of time these prisoners spent waiting to be killed. If you are on death row, shouldn't you be killed as soon as possible? As a matter of fact, the person up for the penalty could escape or die at any time, which is bad because they didn't get the punishment that they deserved. Also, the fact that you have to get toxins to put inside the people who did the crime and plus, they are expensive. On the flip side, death row inmates can get lawyers, but it can take up to 5 years for that to happen. The biggest part of this argument is that it violates the 8th amendment, which is protection against unusual and cruel punishment. I agree that the California Death Penalty is cruel and unusual punishment.

12/10/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
Aden P4
Wong/Lorbeer
I believe that California's death penalty is unconstitutional because of the fact that inmates have to wait a long period of time for their execution which is almost like torture because of the fact that every day that inmate knows he's going to die, which is why some inmates have committed suicide. It's actually putting a lot of stress on that inmate, for an example say a teacher wants a 4 page essay to be done within 3 days, wouldn't that put a lot of stress on you? Another example is that in Texas, inmates that have been sentenced to death have waited for nearly 25 years to be executed, isn't that insane! It's just cruel for these inmates to suffer this way knowing that they will end up dying sooner or later. Ever since 1978 13 people were executed in California. To top all this off an inmate can wait up to 5 years for the state to appoint them a defense lawyer, I mean what if their innocent? The lethal injection can also last up to 2 hours, which is almost like torturing the inmate instead of an execution because the inmate is sitting there knows that they will soon departure from earth and into another world.

12/10/2015
Diamond Bar/CA
David
Wong/Lorbeer
I believe California's death penalty is constitutional. Prisoners who are executed have committed extreme crimes and a mere sentence to prison wont cut it. The length of time it prisoners spend waiting to be executed is the time their lawyers are fighting tooth and nail to at least delay the execution. Some argue that the death penalty is cruel and unusual but really, the forms of execution are mostly painless and the criminals certainly didn't label killing their victims as unusual. Yes, death row might be uncomfortable but the conditions aren't officially issued or carried out by the government. Death by natural causes isn't punishment its natural and again, most definitely not unusual. Yes death by natural causes may seem cruel to some but hey, if you have a problem with it take it up with nature. Its not the government's fault that prisoners who committed a crime are dying before they were going to be executed.

12/7/2015
Diamond Bar/CA
AaronP4
Wong/Lorbeer
I think that California's death penalty system is unconstitutional. I believe this because the length of time it takes for the prisoners to be executed. The amount of time it takes is too long, they might have to wait up to 5 years for the state to appoint a qualified defense lawyer. They are allowed two state-level appeals and then a shot to appeal at the federal court level, but the state's review process can take years, even decades. Those delays can last up to 25 years or more. The prisoners by then are more likely to die of natural causes, suicide, or an accident by then. The Eighth Amendment protects against cruel and unusual punishment, but the death penalty system is a cruel and unsual punishment. I think this because the amount of time it takes for them to be executed leaving death row inmates to think about what they have done and have no idea when it will happen. This amount of time may lead to death row to commit suicide. Think about it, inmates waiting a seemingly endless amount of time and if they don't die in that amount of time they just get executed. They waited all that time to get a lethal injection. That is very cruel. For all the death row inmates only 13 have been executed since 1978. This is when the state reinstated the death penalty. In conclusion I think that the death penalty is unconstitutional and is cruel.

12/7/2015
Pomona/California
marissapd4
Wong/lorbeer
I believe California's death penalty is unconstitutional because the length of time the prisoners don't actually know how long till their execution will be. This takes away the right of a person. I agree with Judge Caeney that the state violated the inmate's protection from the eighth amendment.

12/6/2015
Pomona/California
Victoria Period 1
Wong/Lorbeer
I believe that California's death penalty system is unconstitutional. I believe that it is unconstitutional because the length of time prisoners spend waiting on death row, the length review and appeals process, and the fact those executions were so few and seemingly random had little impact as a crime deterrent. For example, in Texas, people that have been sentenced to death have waited for up to 25 years to be executed which I think is agonizingly cruel having no idea when the inevitable may come, violating the Eighth Amendment which protects against cruel and unusual punishments. Death row inmates can also wait up to five years for a state to appoint a qualified defense lawyer. In addition, most people on death row die of natural causes before their execution, which on another account, the toxins that are injected into the individuals are very expensive and cost the government a lot of money. In conclusion, I believe the death penalty is unconstitutional because of its many flaws.

12/5/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
AubreeP5
Wong/Lorbeer
I think that California's death penalty is unconstitutional and takes away the right of the person. In these executions the prisoner has to go through at least seven minutes of knowing that they are going to die. Some of the lethal injections have taken an hour and fifty-nine minutes! I agree with Judge Carney, the state violated the inmate's protection from the eighth amendment. The eighth amendment states that "nor cruel or unusual punishments [may be] inflicted." In fact, since there is such a long line on death row people usually die of natural causes or commit suicide. Only thirteen inmates have been executed in death row since 1978. These injections also cost the government money and it is not cheap. The lethal injection cost two hundred dollars and for an inmate that is still alive it would cost about 43,150 dollars just for one inmate. There are also delays in the injections which scares the person into the thinking that the government is trying to torture them with time.

12/3/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
JoshP5
Wong/Lorbeer
I believe that California’s death penalty system is unconstitutional. I believe that California’s death penalty is unconstitutional because people who are set up for the death penalty aren’t executed immediately. Therefore, people just keep lining up to be executed, and the majority of them just die of natural causes. Also, people who are on the death penalty, they also appeal to the judge to not be executed. In the appeals process, there are numerous steps that must be taken. For example, in Texas, people who have been sentenced to be executed have spent close to 25 years on the death row before being executed. In addition, the lethal injections/toxins that the prisoners are injected with cost a lot of money. Therefore, I believe that the death penalty is unconstitutional because it is not effective.

11/25/2015
Diamond Bar,CA
JustinP.1
Wong/Lorbeer
I think that the death penalty is unconstitutional because when people are sentenced to be executed, the execution doesn't happen immediately This causes a long line of people in death row. Most of these people die of natural causes. Also, the executions cost the government a lot of money because items such as lethal injections are filled with expensive toxins.

11/5/2015
murrieta
isaac
jabro creekside
people should be put to death for their crimes. people know that they will just get put in jail, so they continue with the crimes. let them know that death will be enforced, they may stop the crimes and thin twice about what they're doing. to many people can get away with living for the worst crimes. they dont learn anything, they have plenty of time to think about it, why not just enforce the death penalty.

10/15/2015
Murrieta, Ca
Erik
Jabro/Creekside
We believe that California's death penalty policies are good because it doesn't matter if they die of natural causes/ suicide. If they are put on death row, however they die is irrelevant. The eight amendment is not being violated because death of old age is not cruel and most would commit suicide even if the wait for execution was short.

10/12/2015
Murrieta, CA
Joshua Alvarado
Senior Jabro/ Creekside high
I think that the death penalty system is right in some ways. But having 740 death row prisoners is really insane. I believe that they should keep the death penalty but start putting people to death. If you cant do the time don't commit the crime.

10/12/2015
murrieta ca
Robert
jabro/ creekside
I believe that all rapists and sexual predator committed of those actions should be placed on death row. I also believe that a new way of killing someone is more humane on the one who is killing because that would mess with your head. Killers i think should die in jail, not underneath a nail from someone that has t do it. I believe that it should stated when they die. Overall keep the death penalty.

10/9/2015
Murrieta, California
Micah W
Jabro - Creekside High
While Judge Carney makes a valid and fair point in saying that the State of California violates inmates Eighth Amendment right prohibiting excessive fines, bails and cruel and unusual punishment by the federal government -the State of California intends to ensure that every inmate on death row is actually deserving of execution and isn't wrongly accused. California argued that Death row inmates must be appointed a qualified defense attorney which maintains the 6th and 7th amendment. The State of California has allowed itself to stay in this cycle of violating the Constitution but at the same time following it. Until the Supreme Court passes some new legislation that fixes the complications with the death penalty, it's likely that things on death row will remain the same.

10/8/2015
Rudyard/MT
Kiera
Mrs. Campbell
I do not feel like the California death penalty is unconstitutional at all. States have the right to handle their own justice systems for the crimes commited within their state. If the crime was bad enought that the death penatly was the solution, then so be it. Plus the method of the California Penalty is Lethal Injecitonion when their are way harsher penalties to be given this is the kindest. So no the method and the death penalty in Californa is not unconstitutional at all.

10/6/2015
Murrieta/CA
Casey H.
Mr. Jabro
In my opinion, I do not think California's death penalty is unconstitutional. I believe, depending on what you do, you get what you deserve. Why put prisoners on death row in the first place if none of them are being killed by lethal injection? The worse of the worse go to death row, they did something bad enough to get themselves there. And they're there to be killed by lethal injection because of what they did. So NO, I do NOT think California's death penalty is unconstitutional. we're being too nice.

10/2/2015
Sidney Montana
Reiley
Brad Faulhaber Sidney High School
No in my opinion I do not think California's death penalty is unconstitutional. I believe the death penalty is a good yet, cruel punishment I believe if you take a life you should lose yours. I feel like its unfair to keep them alive and waste money on feeding and housing them and taking innocents money from taxes to feed criminals who does not deserve a life. Some people say the shots for the death penalty is expensive but, if you keep adding up the criminals and the years they have in prison money adds up a lot more for food and housing. So I believe the death penalty is constitutional.

10/2/2015
Sidney Montana
Hunter Nice
Mr. Faulhaber/ Sidney Highschool
I believe that California's death penalty is constitutional. If they are on death row the are obviously there for a reason. Take homicide for example if somebody kills another human being i believe they deserve to be put to death. Think of all the families affected by that one person that did the killing. For these reasons i believe that the death penalty is constitutional.

10/2/2015
Sidney, MT
Clay
Mr. Faulhaber/ Sidney Highschool
The California death penalty is something I feel is necessary. Discussing the question on whether or not it is constitutional is hard. in my case I lean in the favor of California. They have just cause to keep inmates for a long period of time to make sure they are guilty and off the streets.

9/25/2015
murrieta
Jacob
Mr. Jabro creekside highschool
I feel the the death penalty should be carried out because the convicts were put on death row for a reason. I do see how it is more human to let them died of natural but after what they did to get on death row the they should be classified as demons and should be treated as such. Crimes that put you on death row are not taken lightly and they should have to pay the consequences for there actions.

9/24/2015
Murrieta, Ca
Alize
Jabro/Creekside
I feel as though, depending on the sentence, that they should carry out with the death penalty. Rapists, murders and any other convict who has caused irreversible damage to a person(s) life should face his/her consequences. But I do not think anyone should face the death penalty because of an exceedingly high sentence.

9/23/2015
Murrieta, CA
Maria
Mr.Jabo/ Creekside Highschool
I believe california's death penalty is unconstitutional do to the fact that not everyone on death row is guilty. Some criminals on death row are wrongly convicted and then killed because of the death penalty. I disagree with the death penalty because in a way it is an easy way out of whatever the criminal is charged with. The bigger punishment for the criminal would be to give them a life sentence in prison and allow them to either suffer for what they have done or repent and learn their lesson.

9/23/2015
Murrieta,ca
jennifer
Mr.Jabro Creekside Highschool
Most people who are in the process of death row have died before actually going thru the whole thing. Am i the only one who think that's rhetorical? Thinking the male/female died of natural causes after doing what was justified in court. They might as well put this maniac in house arrest so he could have died in his sleep. I believe they should act on this should be allowed.

9/18/2015
Beeville, Txt
Joshua
Mrs. Thornton - A.C. Jones
I believe that the California's death penalty system should be constitutional. I state this because people who rape and kill ruins others lives. People like them do not deserve freedom, but do deserve to be put down. Therefore, the california's death penalty system shall be constitutional

9/18/2015
Beeville, tx
Josh
Ms. Thornton - AC Jones
I think that the death penalty is a good penalty. If you take a life I think your life should be taken in some situations.

9/17/2015
Beeville, TX
Jared
Ms. Thornton - AC Jones
I believe that the death penalty should be discontinued. I strongly believe that giving a death penalty is giving criminals the easiest way out of prison. In extreme cases where the death penalty would be used should rather be given life sentences in prison. Let them suffer the consequences.

9/17/2015
beeville,tx
Reiana gonzales
Thornton, A.C Jones high school
Everyone has their opinion people shouldn't be killed , everyone makes mistakes in life and I honestly don't think they should be killed. Some people may be make mistakes and shouldn't have to die but learn their life lesson in prison .

9/16/2015
Murrieta,CA
Amber
Mr.Jabro Creekside Highschool
The death penalty is Constitutional because if the crime involves rape of any young boys or girls, the guilty have caused a life of damage, pain, and suffering and that`s the punishment the guilty should get. Also if they are put on death row they are not poisoned

9/16/2015
Murrieta, CA
Davin C.
Mr.Jabro Creekside High School
I believe the death penalty should continue to be used. The only issue that concerns me is the lengthy review process to ensure that the criminal isn't innocent. I believe the review process should take no longer than it took for the criminal to be convicted.If innocence is a question, that person shouldn't have been put on death row in the first place.The goal of the death penalty is correct while the process is incorrect.

9/14/2015
Murrieta, CA
Gary
Mr. Jabro Creekside Highschool
The death penalty should continue to be used. It's only issued to criminals who have committed serious crimes. The review process while the inmates are death row is fair and thorough as to make sure no innocent is sent to the execution chamber. But no system is perfect. The long review process leads to more deaths than the actual executions and I believe that is what the main problem is.

9/12/2015
murrieta ca
cynthia pinegar
mr.jabro
long delays of California's death penalty makes it unconstitutional beause the long delays because its so dysfunctional and there is many susiside deaths anyways

9/11/2015
Murrieta, California
Corey
Mr. Jabro Creekside highschool
This death penalty system is constitutional, Judge Carney implies that it violates their 8th amendment rights by subjecting them to cruel and unusual punishment, but giving them time to be proven innocent is nowhere near as cruel and unusual as executing an innocent man. So the state shouldn't be punished for being thorough.

9/10/2015
Georgia
Skyler
Ms. Lawrence/ Griffin High
The death penalty is good because the inmates die of old age or suicide and not poison. Judge Carney is right, Because it violates the 8th amendment

9/10/2015
Griffin Georgia
Dawshae and Cheyenne
Ms.Lawrence Griffin High School
We believe that California's death penalty policies are good because it doesn't matter if they die of natural causes/ suicide. If they are put on death row, however they die is irrelevant. The eight amendment is not being violated because death of old age is not cruel and most would commit suicide even if the wait for execution was short.

9/10/2015
georgia
Hailey & Dwaine
Mrs.Lawrence/Griffin High School
Honestly, in our opinion people should not be killed. Everyone in this life makes mistakes, plus some people are not always guilty. innocent people have been executed. Really no one should be killed. Although some people do have sick minds they should just be held in prison & have to learn their lesson and suffer.

9/10/2015
Murrieta, CA
Jakob
Mr. Jabro Creekside highschool
Yes, I believe that the death penalty should still be active in California. Because if you haven't dealt with people of that level of a sick twisted mind they have and what a lot of them are capable of its pretty scary. I feel it nessecary because of those reason and also because of high level of crimes and murders they have commited.

9/10/2015
Murrieta, CA
Jakob
Mr. Jabro Creekside highschool
Yes, I believe that the death penalty should still be active in California. Because if you haven't dealt with people of that level of a sick twisted mind they have and what a lot of them are capable of its pretty scary. I feel it nesscary

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