California has not executed any prisoners since 2006, but with 749 on death row, the state has the nation’s most convicts in limbo. A new proposal could restart the state’s capital punishment, says the Christian Science Monitor. For nearly ten years, California has refrained from lethal injection after a federal judge banned three-drug executions, ruling that if one of the drugs failed to work, it posed a risk of cruel and unusual punishment. This legal limbo prompted a 2014 lawsuit from family members of a murder victim. The ruling required California to come up with a new lethal injection protocol by the end of November.
Under the new proposal, the state would administer a single lethal dose of either amobarbital, pentobarbital, secobarbital or thiopental, which are drugs that other states struggled to find suppliers for in recent years. California is one of 32 states that employ the death penalty. The Death Penalty Information Center says eight states have used a single-drug method in past executions, and six others have announced intent, but have never actually employed the method. The rest of the states follow a three-drug protocol. If California approved the new measure, which could take upwards of a year, other states may follow suit. “A court-approved execution protocol after nine years of delay is a major victory for the majority of Californians who support the death penalty,” said Kent Scheidegger of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, “particularly for families of murder victims who have been waiting for justice.”