But as California’s attorney general, Senator Harris defended capital punishment.
The case at the heart of her earlier position is Jones v. Davis, which centers on Ernest Jones, a man on death row for upward of 25 years for raping and murdering his girlfriend’s mother.
In 2015, a federal district court judge ruled that an excessive delay in Jones’ execution violated the Eighth Amendment barring cruel and unusual punishment, declaring California’s death penalty unconstitutional. This essentially vacated Jones’ death sentence.
Government prosecutors led by Harris appealed that ruling to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and won, removing the legal barrier that had been issued.
“If she doesn’t appeal, she has political issues having to do with why the chief law enforcement officer in the state is acquiescing in a decision that declares this punishment unconstitutional,” said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, a national nonprofit. “Her choice was ultimately to take the appeal so she doesn’t risk having the entire death penalty thrown out.” – READ MORE