Frustrated by a recent appeals court ruling that invalidates the state's lethal injection procedures, supporters of the death penalty in California aim to bring a suspended system back to life. San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos and other California death penalty supporters hope to circumvent legal challenges to executions through a new initiative measure. It would put in place a single drug injection procedure for inmates who have been sentenced to death, such as the infamous Night Stalker serial killer Richard Ramirez, who died Friday.

Advocates of the single injection protocol seek to avoid supply and legal issues related to the triple-drug protocol that has been used prior to a 2006 moratorium on the death penalty. Ramos said the ballot initiative would also reform the appellate process to ensure executions for death row inmates who have exhausted all appeals and where questions of guilt don't exist.

The San Bernardino County district attorney was a vocal presence during the campaign to oppose Proposition 34 in the 2012 election. The measure, which would have abolished the death penalty and replaced it with life in prison without parole, was defeated with 52 percent of voters opposed.
The proposed initiative would be carried by a coalition of law enforcement, district attorneys, and death penalty proponents who opposed Proposition 34.

"The initiative will be to streamline and fix the death penalty," Ramos said.

"As the voters have indicated, they still believe in capital punishment, and as I asked the voters to oppose Proposition 34, I told them I would do anything I could to fix the issue of delayed justice. That's what happens with these families. It's not justice if it's delayed, especially in these most gruesome murders."

More than 725 death row inmates await execution, while more than a dozen who have exhausted legal appeals are eligible for immediate execution. Ramirez, convicted in 1989, was among them before his death at the age of 53 of natural causes on Friday.