California could take a giant step closer to resuming executions when the state Supreme Court issues a highly anticipated ruling on a ballot measure to speed up the state's dysfunctional death penalty system.
The California Supreme Court will rule Thursday on a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 66, a push to "mend not end" capital punishment in California. The measure beat a competing initiative on the November ballot that would have abolished the death penalty.
Condemned inmates in California currently languish for decades and are more likely to die of natural causes than from lethal injection. There are nearly 750 inmates on death row and only 13 have been executed since 1978 - the last in 2006.
Proposition 66 aimed to expedite death sentences in part by setting a five-year deadline on court appeals.