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America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

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With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

Notorious killer on California's death row found unconscious in cell, dies

Gilbert Rubio
Gilbert Rubio
A notorious killer on San Quentin's death row died after being found unconscious in his cell early Thursday, prison officials said.

The Marin County coroner will now work to determine how 55-year-old Gilbert Rubio died after correctional officers found him unresponsive during a security check just after 6 a.m.

Rubio was sentenced to die on Sept. 20, 2000 for the 1998 murder and robbery of high school vice principal George "Skipper" Blackwell in his Long Beach home.

He was convicted of 1st-degree murder with the special circumstance of robbery and burglary by a Los Angeles County jury.

Rubio and 2 others, 59-year-old Monica Chavez and Alex Vega, 61, robbed and bound Blackwell during a home-invasion robbery on Jan. 12, 1998.

During the robbery, Chavez and Vega left the home to cash a $2,000 check written by Blackwell. When his 2 accomplices left, Rubio shot and killed his victim.

Chavez was sentenced to life without parole and remains incarcerated at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla. Vega was sentenced to life without parole and remains locked up at the California State Prison in Corcoran.

Avoiding execution by perishing from other means is all but certain in San Quentin, the state's only death row.

Since the Legislature re-enacted the death penalty in 1978, 13 inmates have been executed while more than 100 have died from other means.

No one has been executed at the prison for nearly a decade after U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose ruled the state's protocol for capital punishment was badly flawed.

There are 747 people on California's death row.

Source: sfgate.com, June 17, 2016

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