With 702 people in California’s death row, the last execution was in 2006, only the 13th since 1978. Since then, says the Sacramento Bee, at least 205 convicts have been executed in other states, 24 California death row inmates have died from natural causes or suicide, and 83 people have been sentenced to death in California courts.
No one has been executed recently in California, largely because of two court challenges over the state’s lethal injection methods and its attempt to short-circuit the procedure for revising those methods. Corrections officials hope they are on the verge of winning approval of their rewritten lethal injection rules, which will give the rules the force of law. That approval, due by Friday, will reignite a pending legal battle over whether California can rejoin 34 other states that have the death penalty, and whether it should. Supporters and opponents say the likelihood of executions resuming anytime soon in California is slight.