CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, February 18, 2008

Cali Death Penalty Panel to Discuss Reasons for Reversals

From The California Supreme Court last year overturned convicted killer James Hardy's 1984 death sentence because a defense lawyer's "meager" effort representing him undermined the chance of a fair trial. And just a few weeks ago, a federal appeals court gave a reprieve to Earl Lloyd Jackson, one of the state's longest-serving death row inmates, because of a prosecutor's blunders during his 1979 trial.

The appellate rulings provide an all-too-common snapshot of California's death penalty system. Shoddy representation and prosecutorial miscues are two of the most common reasons that death row inmates have had a better chance of getting their death sentences reversed than of being executed.

A state commission examining California's death penalty system on Wednesday will focus on those issues in the second round of hearings on the subject. The California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice will hear from more than a dozen witnesses at the hearings, which are being held in Los Angeles.

The commission hearing last month focused on broad concerns about the state's death penalty, particularly the prolonged delays in state and federal appeals.

This week's hearing will zero in on problems with capital trials, which have left more than 660 inmates on the state's death row. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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