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California not resuming executions in 2011

May 4th 2011 at 6:32 AM

Opponents of the death penalty: Rejoice! For the time being, the state of California will perform no executions during the year 2011. For those of us who believe the life of one innocent person is worth letting 100 guilty people live, good news comes from the West Coast.

Among the thousands of California citizens in prison, court records show a total of 713 on death row. For the time being, they have a bit of a reprieve. The California Department of Corrections has requested to delay review of newly revised lethal injection protocols until January 2012, at the earliest. The decision is more than merely financial.

According to a report from the LA Times blog, the reasons are many for the state to put off the executions. Among those are budget concerns, and a recent move by San Quentin warden Michael Martel's recent decision to replace the execution team, which also follows Governor Jerry Brown's abandoning plans to build a new death row facility for the prison. No information is given as to why Martel chose to replace a newly trained execution team at the ready.

Admittedly, it's mere speculation, but it could be due to a sense of understanding by many, of the great number of cases of innocent people, wrongfully prosecuted, and sentenced to death row. Even retired Justice John Paul Stevens is speaking out against prosecutorial zeal, and violation of the basic rights, of so many of America's citizens.

Opponents of the death penalty are seeing this as a possible shift away from a state-mandated death penalty. In the words of professor Craig Haney, of UC Santa Cruz, the recent financial decisions made by Governor Brown, and the state's reluctance to resume any pending executions are signs that "the death penalty's days are numbered in the United States."

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