The LA Times reported December 29th that California continues to sentence more prisoners to death than any other state, creating the countries most populous death row; 28 new prisoners were added in 2010. LA County alone sentenced as many as the lone star state of Texas. The state’s death chamber was idle for a fifth year, due to protracted legal challenges of lethal injection challenges, and a nationwide shortage on the key drug of the triumvirate cocktail used. Whether executions will resume will be decided by a federal judge early next year, who must decide whether the states newly revised lethal injection procedure is compliant with a constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The controversy is expected to intensify with Governor Jerry Brown, who opposes capital punishment on moral grounds. Yet as a state, the majority of public opinion support capital punishment, most recently 64% favor. The last execution took place in California in January of 2006. In February 2006, a moratorium on lethal injection occurred, resulting from a decision made by US District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel, who blocked the execution of convicted murdered Michael Morales.
In California, the penal code allows for possible capital punishment for treason against the state of California, perjury causing execution of an innocent person, and murder in the first degree, with special circumstances.