Death Penalty: Lethal Injection in California


In the USA, unlike in Europe, there is such a punishment for people who have broken the law as the death penalty. Although many states have stopped performing it, the majority, including California, still impose the death sentence on felony defendants. There are several ways of performing the death penalty, such as the execution on the electric chair, hanging, and the most widespread lethal injection. This essay aims to focus specifically on the death penalty in California and discuss the legal issues connected with it.

Lethal Injection and the Problems of Its Use

The death penalty as a whole concept might raise many questions considering its objectivity and humanity towards prisoners. For instance, some judges can be preconceived toward prisoners of other races, do not consider the psychological problems of the criminals, and are sentenced to the death of older people (Emma, 2021). However, lethal injection is the most common type of deprivation of life, viewed as the most humane since more brutal ways of execution have been forbidden to be practiced.

Repeatedly, during the execution of the sentence, the solution-carrying tubes were damaged; as a result, the onset of death was slowed down, and the process itself was painful and painful. Often, the “executioners” cannot quickly find the vein of a convicted person, which also does not speak in favor of lethal injections. American scientists have found that the euthanasia of animals is carried out more efficiently than sentenced people. It is because qualified doctors refuse to participate in the killing of a prisoner due to the oath given to Hippocrates. Perhaps that is why the use of this method of killing has been suspended in eleven states.

Why Was the Death Penalty Ruled Unconstitutional in the 1970s?

Back in the 1970s, the sequence of cases with the death sentences caused several questions regarding the relevance of such a measure but, most importantly, its alliance with the Constitution. The Court concluded that death penalties were sentenced without any solid and convincing reasons for this. After further discussion, the punishment by death sentence was decided to be unethical and infringe the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution (Marion, 2021). Therefore, the death penalty was considered an unnecessary and cruel act since some prisoners could avoid death. Eventually, this kind of punishment became unconstitutional due to the many contradictions and moral issues.

Proposals 62 and 66

In November 2016, elections were held in California, where two competing initiatives clashed with each other. On the one hand, initiative number 62, which, like article 34 (which was rejected in 2012), abolished the death penalty. On the other hand, there was proposal number 66, which implied optimizing the appeal of the death sentence. It included demands for prisoners to work in prison and pay compensation to the families of their victims. If rejected the first proposal, the second proposal received approval and was confirmed by the State Supreme Court.

Modern Problems of the Death Penalty

One of the main problems is the global trend towards respect for human rights. Every year, new human rights organizations are created that categorically exclude the death penalty for any criminal. On the one hand, this measure of restraint is legally fixed (Emma, 2021). Still, on the other hand, this factor puts the United States on par with many totalitarian and authoritarian states. This situation does not correspond to the state, which most strongly defends the ideas of democracy.

Nowadays, Death Sentences in California

Despite numerous debates and discussions over the legitimacy of the death penalty California is still among the predominance number of states that still perform it. However, the current status of this punishment might eventually change. Due to the upcoming elections in 2022, this issue will be one of the most crucial to discuss and determine the following existence of the death sentence. If it receives approval, the relevant amendments will include immediately.


Emma, R. (2021). Dynamic rare decisions: Gubernatorial vetoes and the death penalty, 1999–2018. The Journal of Legislative Studies, 1(9), 1-23.

Marion, V. (2021). Normalizing extreme imprisonment: The case of life without parole in California (1972–2012). Theoretical Criminology, 25(4), 519-539.

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DemoEssays. "Death Penalty: Lethal Injection in California." October 5, 2022.