Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley made a play to skirt the 6-year-old state moratorium on executions by suggesting that the controversial three-drug cocktail--which led to the moratorium due to criticisms that its alleged painfulness constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment"--was no longer available for death-penalty use, and therefore the moratorium should be lifted.
Earlier this summer, corrections officers have begun testing a single-drug protocol for executions, but the 9th District U.S. Court of Appeals has yet to approve of such a method.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler denied the request, according the Associated Press, on the grounds that ordering an unapproved execution procedure was beyond his jurisdiction.
Cooley's bid to restart executions was targeted at a pair of murderers: Mitchell Sims and Tiequon Cox. Sims was found guilty in 1985 of shooting a pizza deliveryman in Glendale; Cox was convicted for the 1984 shootings of two children, their mother and grandmother.
In the November election, Californians will vote on an initiative to kill the death penalty once and for all. If passed, the Savings, Accountability and Full Enforcement for California Act would replace California's death penalty with life in prison with no chance of parole.
According to the SAFE California campaign, "convicted killers will remain in high security prisons until they die—with no risk of executing an innocent person."
Additionally, the 725 prisoners currently on death row in the state would have their sentences converted to life. SAFE California also requires persons convicted of murder to work and pay restitution into a victim's compensation fund and creates the SAFE California Fund, which takes $30 million a year for three years in budget savings and puts it into the investigation of unsolved rape and murder cases.
California has spent $4 billion on the execution of 13 inmates since reinstituting the death penalty in 1978; the state has put to death no one since 2006, when a federal judge suspended executions.