Voters passed Proposition 66, a ballot measure that aims to speed up the death penalty. No one has been executed in California since 2006 because of legal challenges to the lethal injection protocol. (Manny Crisostomo/Sacramento Bee file)

By Alexei Koseff
Capitol Alert
December 20, 2016 – 3:04 PM

A new voter-approved law intended to speed up California’s fractured death penalty system will not take effect while a court considers a lawsuit from its opponents.

The California Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed implementation of Proposition 66 pending the outcome of the case. The measure, which also aims to resume executions in a state where none has taken place in more than a decade, won 51 percent of the vote and was certified on Friday.

In a one-page filing, the court said it was providing “time for further consideration” of the legal challenge and “to permit the filing and consideration of papers in opposition to the petition.” Supporters of Proposition 66 must file their response to the lawsuit by Jan. 9, with the reply from the petitioners due two weeks later.

Aiming to expedite a process that can take more than two decades, Proposition 66 expands the pool of lawyers eligible to take death penalty cases in order to get condemned inmates legal representation sooner. It also sets strict timelines for inmates to appeal their sentences.

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