"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Sunday, September 6, 2015

California prisoner dies of natural causes after 26 years on death row

San Quentin Death Row
San Quentin Death Row
A California prison inmate who spent 26 years on death row for murder has died of natural causes, the fourth so far this year in a state that has not carried out an execution since 2006.

Ronald Harold Seaton, 69, died last week at Marin general hospital near San Francisco, state prison authorities said on Wednesday.

He had been on death row at San Quentin state prison since 1989.

The death penalty is technically legal in California, but legal challenges to the state’s lethal injection practices along with political reticence to push the issue in a liberal state have instead left condemned inmates in a limbo that in many cases has lasted for decades until their natural deaths.

Since 1978, when the death penalty was reinstated in California, the state has executed only 13 people.

Sixty-nine, including Seaton, have died of natural causes while on death row, and 24 have killed themselves. Still awaiting execution are 747 others, who are housed on death row at San Quentin, in Marin County near San Francisco.

Last year, a federal judge said the lengthy wait for execution was unconstitutional, amounting to cruel and unusual punishment in the case of Ernest Dewayne Jones, who was condemned to death in 1995 but has not been executed.

Source: The Guardian, Sept. 3, 2015

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