Lawyers For Mentally Ill Inmates Move For Additional Relief
Professor Robert Weisberg spoke with The Daily Journal's Hamed Aleaziz about the obligation "owed" to California's death row inmates.
The battle over the treatment of California's mentally ill inmates is set to continue next week as attorneys for the prisoners argue for additional court relief for what they call failure by the state to protect the inmates from unnecessary use of force and provide adequate care to those on death row.
If the effort succeeds, corrections officials could face increased federal oversight and scrutiny of the state prison system, which is already scrambling to comply with multiple other court orders.
Robert Weisberg, co-director of the Stanford Law School's Criminal Justice Center, said inmates face longer odds on the death row claim.
"What states often say with some legal justification - it is an uncomfortable thing to say but it has a legal justification - is that death row inmates are not serving prison terms, they are awaiting execution."
Though death row inmates can't be affirmatively mistreated, he said, "States will often argue that there's still a different kind of obligation, a lesser kind of obligation."