U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney ruled California's death penalty unconstitutional this week. The declaration was limited to a single case and does not immediately impact statewide executions, but if upheld, would end capital punishment in California.
Judge Carney said that delays of 25 years or more have led to a death penalty system that no longer works. Since 1992, only 13 inmates have been put to death in California, while 93 have died from illnesses, suicide or other causes. There are currently 748 inmates on death row.
This decision could be California's first step toward joining the 18 other states that have abolished the death penalty if the ruling holds up in appeals. Six of those states have abolished the death penalty in the last seven years.
To read more about California's capital punishment system and the ruling, click here.