Appeals court rejects challenge to California death penalty

Nov 12, 2015 1:09 PM by News Staff

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A federal appeals court has reversed a lower court ruling that found California's death penalty was unconstitutional because of excessive delays.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously Thursday that the lower court was barred from considering a novel constitutional theory that delays in carrying out executions amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.

U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney ruled last year that California's death penalty was an empty promise with unpredictable delays that seldom led to executions.

Prosecutors appealed the ruling by Carney in the case of a Los Angeles man sentenced to die for the 1992 rape and murder of his girlfriend's mother.

More than 900 people have been sentenced to death in California, but only 13 have been executed since 1978.

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