Ernest DeWayne Jones v. Robert K. Wong

Filing 103

ORDER RE: BRIEFING AND SETTLEMENT DISCUSSIONS by Judge Cormac J. Carney: The Court believes that briefing and oral argument are necessary and appropriate on petitioners potential claim. Accordingly, the Court sets the following briefing and hearing schedule: 1. The parties shall serve and file simultaneous opening briefs which address the issues raised in this Order no later than June 9, 2014.(see document for complete details) (mu)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 ERNEST DEWAYNE JONES, 12 Petitioner, 13 v. 14 15 16 KEVIN CAPPELL, Warden of California State Prison at San Quentin, Respondent. CASE NO. CV 09-02158 CJC ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) DEATH PENALTY CASE ORDER RE: BRIEFING AND SETTLEMENT DISCUSSIONS 17 18 This Court is extremely troubled by the long delays in 19 execution of sentence in this and other California death 20 penalty cases. 21 22 In claim 27, petitioner contends that his continuous 23 confinement since 1995 under a death sentence constitutes 24 cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth 25 Amendment under the principles which Justice Stevens 26 articulated in his memorandum “respecting the denial of 27 certiorari” in Lackey v. Texas, 514 U.S. 1045 (1995) 28 (denying petition for writ of certiorari). 1 (Pet., at 414- 1 18). 2 “retribution and deterrence of capital crimes by 3 prospective offenders,” an execution “cannot be so totally 4 without penological justification that it results in the 5 gratuitous infliction of suffering.” 6 428 U.S. 153, 183 (1976) (plurality opinion). 7 White, concurring in Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 8 (1972), opined that: 9 While the death penalty can be justified by Gregg v. Georgia, Justice At the moment that [a proposed execution] ceases 10 realistically to further these purposes [of 11 deterrence and the coherent expression of moral 12 outrage], the emerging question is whether its 13 imposition in such circumstances would violate the 14 Eighth Amendment. 15 for its imposition would then be the pointless and 16 needless extinction of life with only marginal 17 contributions to any discernible social or public 18 purposes. 19 to the State would be patently excessive and cruel 20 and unusual punishment violative of the Eighth 21 Amendment. It is my view that it would, A penalty with such negligible returns 22 Furman, 408 U.S. at 312April 10, 2014 (White, J., 23 concurring). 24 25 In addition, the State has a strong interest in 26 expeditiously “exercising its sovereign power to enforce 27 the criminal law.” 28 (1992). In re Blodgett, 502 U.S. 236, 239 In this California capital case, this interest 2 1 has been utterly stymied for two reasons. First, in 2 California, the state and federal procedures for 3 litigating, post-conviction, a capital defendant’s 4 Constitutional claims are especially protracted and 5 fraught with delay. 6 Alarcón and Paula M. Mitchell, Executing the Will of the 7 Voters?: a Roadmap to Mend or End the California 8 Legislature’s Multi-billion-dollar Death Penalty Debacle, 9 44 Loy. L. Rev. 41 (2011); Judge Arthur L. Alarcón, See generally, Judge Arthur L. 10 Remedies for California's Death Row Deadlock, 80 S. Cal. 11 L. Rev. 697 (2007). 12 13 Second, all California executions have been 14 indefinitely stayed while the courts resolve the 15 Constitutionality of California’s lethal injection 16 protocol. 17 *1-*3 (N.D.Cal., Nov. 21, 2012) (summarizing the 18 protracted procedural history of litigation in the 19 Northern District of California, in which the plaintiffs 20 have challenged California's execution protocol as 21 unconstitutional, noting that, “California at this 22 juncture lacks a lethal-injection protocol that is valid 23 under state law.”). See, e.g., Morales v. Cate, 2012 WL 5878383, at 24 25 Thus, in addition to facing the uncertainty that, as 26 Justice Stevens and Justice Blackmun noted in their 27 opinions in Lackey and Furman, all capital defendants face 28 while they await execution, in this case, both petitioner 3 1 and the State must labor under the grave uncertainty of 2 not knowing whether petitioner’s execution will ever, in 3 fact, be carried out. 4 The Court believes this state of affairs is 5 6 intolerable, for both petitioner and the State, and that 7 petitioner may have a claim that his death sentence is 8 arbitrarily inflicted and unusually cruel because of the 9 inordinate delay and unpredictability of the federal and 10 state appellate process. 11 12 The Court believes that briefing and oral argument are 13 necessary and appropriate on petitioner’s potential claim. 14 Accordingly, the Court sets the following briefing and 15 hearing schedule: 16 1. 17 briefs which address the issues raised in this Order no 18 later than June 9, 2014. 19 2. 20 responsive briefs which address the issues raised in this 21 Order no later than 45 days after the opening briefs have 22 been served and filed. 23 3. 24 briefs which address the issues raised in this Order no 25 later than 30 days after the responsive briefs have been 26 served and filed. 27 4. 28 parties have filed their simultaneous replies. The parties shall serve and file simultaneous opening The parties shall serve and file simultaneous The parties shall serve and file simultaneous reply The Court will set a hearing date shortly after the 4 1 The parties are encouraged to submit, and to address 2 in their briefing, the relevant statistics reported in the 3 two law review articles referenced above, as well as any 4 other reliable studies or public records addressing the 5 delay associated with the administration of California's 6 death penalty, the number of individuals on death row and 7 the likelihood that any of those individuals will ever be 8 executed or will instead die of natural causes or suicide. 9 10 In addition, the Court believes that, particularly in 11 light of the state of affairs described above, this case 12 may benefit from mediation or settlement discussions. 13 Therefore, the parties are ORDERED to meet and confer, and 14 to submit to the Court within 60 days of the filing date 15 of this order a joint statement discussing whether 16 mediation or settlement discussions would be appropriate 17 in this case, and, if so, what form the mediation or 18 discussions should take, including whether it would be 19 appropriate for the Court to appoint a mediation Judge. 20 21 IT IS SO ORDERED. 22 23 Dated: April 10, 2014. ___________________________ Cormac J. Carney UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 24 25 26 27 28 5

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?