California Supreme Court to Decide Whether Speed-Up in Executions is Legal

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The death chamber at San Quentin State Prison, which was completed in 2010 but has yet to see an execution. (Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

California voters in November legalized marijuana, approved a plan to reduce the prison population and enacted gun controls.

But on one key issue — the death penalty — the liberal tide shifted. Voters rejected a measure to ban capital punishment and instead approved an initiative intended to hasten executions.

 That measure is now before the California Supreme Court. If the court allows it to go forward,  executions are likely to resume this year, lawyers on both sides of the debate agreed.

The court voted 5 to 0 in closed session last month to put a hold on  Proposition 66, sponsored by prosecutors and passed by 51% of voters.

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