Family of Murder Victim Outraged by Fed Judge Rule: CA Death Penalty Unconstitutional

Family of Murder Victim Outraged by Fed Judge Rule: CA Death Penalty Unconstitutional

CBS13 in Sacramento reported on the outrage of one family to a decision by a federal judge that the California death penalty is unconstitutional. 

Santa Ana-based Judge Cormac J. Carney wrote on Wednesday of the 1995 death sentence of Ernest D. Jones, “Allowing this system to continue to threaten Mr. Jones with the slight possibility of death, almost a generation after he was first sentenced, violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.” 

Carney added that death row inmates await execution with “complete uncertainty as to when, or even whether, it will ever come.” He called the death penalty system, “dysfunctional.”

Meanwhile, Terry Winchell’s family has been waiting since 1981 for her murderer, Michael Morales, to be executed. He was two hours from being executed in 2006 when the state stopped executions.

Brian Chalk, Winchell’s brother, said, “This is a slap in the face not only to the families, but I think to every citizen… The system’s broke. It’s not working. Over 30 years on death row? It’s not working. You either execute him or put him back among the general population. I’m tired of paying to keep this guy alive.”

Chalk added, “I want the judge to make sure the lawyers don’t get in the way, to follow through with the penalty. I guarantee you these lawyers, that are fighting for these guys, or the judges that are overturning these things have not had this happen in their life or to their family because if they have, they would not be doing this.”

Chalk, who sued with his family in the last couple of years to have Morales executed, concluded that the judge’s decision tells death row inmates and future death row inmates that they would not have to fear the death penalty.

There are 748 inmates on California’s death row.