Court to hear challenge to speed up California executions

U.S. Supreme Court

The California Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday over a ballot initiative designed to speed up executions that could fundamentally change the way the court handles death penalty appeals.

Death penalty opponents are challenging a ballot measure passed by a slim majority of voters in November that aimed to reform a dysfunctional system that hasn't executed a condemned killer in more than a decade.

Foes of capital punishment argue that Proposition 66 was unconstitutional because it would take power away from the state's high court to decide how it handles cases and it would disrupt the court system, cost the state more money and undermine the appeals process.

If allowed to take effect, the measure would require more lawyers to take death penalty appellate cases, some trial court judges would be assigned appeals and all state appeals would have to be completed in five years, which is about a third of the time it typically takes.

With a backlog of 380 death penalty appeals, there's concern judges would be overwhelmed trying to speed through appeals, said Elisabeth Semel, a law professor at University of California, Berkeley, who consulted for death penalty opponents on the case.

"There's an enormous ripple effect to that," said Semel, who directs the school's death penalty clinic. "The attention the justices can pay to each individual case is significantly diminished. When you're talking about life and death, that's important."

The ballot initiative supported by 51 percent of voters was designed to "mend not end" capital punishment in California, where nearly 750 inmates are on Death Row and only 13 have been executed since 1978.

A competing measure to repeal capital punishment lost by a slightly wider margin. Both sides acknowledged the current system is broken.

Related listings

  • Supreme Court won’t revive school’s transgender bathroom ban

    Supreme Court won’t revive school’s transgender bathroom ban

    U.S. Supreme Court 06/28/2021

    The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a Virginia school board’s appeal to reinstate its transgender bathroom ban. Over two dissenting votes, the justices left in place lower court rulings that found the policy unconstitutional. The case involved...

  •  Supreme Court allows Ohio, other state voter purges

    Supreme Court allows Ohio, other state voter purges

    U.S. Supreme Court 06/13/2018

    The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can clean up their voting rolls by targeting people who haven't cast ballots in a while.The justices rejected, by a 5-4 vote Monday, arguments in a case from Ohio that the practice violates a federal law int...

  • Pennsylvania GOP take gerrymandering case to US high court

    Pennsylvania GOP take gerrymandering case to US high court

    U.S. Supreme Court 01/27/2018

    Pennsylvania's top Republican lawmakers asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to stop an order by the state's highest court in a gerrymandering case brought by Democrats that threw out the boundaries of its 18 congressional districts and ordered t...

How do you qualify for workers compensation in Illinois?

The Workers’ Compensation Statute protects every employee in the State of Illinois.

A victim of a work-related injury or illness is eligible for many forms of compensation including reasonable medical care required to cure or relieve the impact of the injury, lost time from work, and any temporary or permanent disability.

Illinois Workers’ compensation is a system of benefits that:

– Pays for the medical treatment and medical bills incurred by work-related injuries and illnesses.
– Pays for the lost time from work
– Pays for any temporary or permanent disabilities
– Covers nearly every employee in Illinois
– and begins the very first day that you start working for your employer.


Employers in Illinois are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for their employees and the insurance companies fund the payment of worker’s compensation benefits for employees’ claims. In the event of a dispute, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC, or the Commission) enforces the state’s worker’s compensation laws and protects worker rights.