SACRAMENTO, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- A resumption of executions in California would see an unprecedented number of inmates facing death by lethal injection, authorities said.
After almost six years of a moratorium on executions, the number of death row inmates who have exhausted all legal appeals has grown to a dozen who could be executed in just a few months if legal challenges to the state's lethal injection method fail, the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News reported Sunday.
The possibility of so many executions in a short period would bring the death penalty debate in California to the fore, foes of capital punishment said.
"If California were to begin executing at the rate of other states, it seems like people would care about the issue more one way or another," said former California Department of Corrections chief and San Quentin Warden Jeanne Woodford, now executive director of a major anti-death penalty group. "It is kind of abstract at this moment."
The lethal injection challenge has languished in the federal courts but may get a hearing early next year, officials said.