Schwartz & Powell

CA Gas Chamber Bill SB 779: What Are They Thinking?

by Steven D. Powell Attorney at Law




Voters in California nearly succeeded in abolishing the death penalty in 2012.  Yet, in the wake of the narrow defeat of Prop 34 a bill has been introduced to bring back the gas chamber in California.

This barbaric practice is the content of Bill SB 779, introduced by Senator Joel Anderson of San Diego and The California District Attorneys Association.  SB779 allows execution by "nontoxic gas" which would be administered "in a lethal manner, such as displacing oxygen." 

This execution by "nontoxic gas" would suffocate a person to death.

California would be the only jurisdiction in the world to carry out execution by suffocation.  The only jurisdiction in the world.  No other country carries out executions by any form of gas.  No other state in the United States currently carries out executions by gas.

The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment."  The content of SB 779 seeks to establish a method of execution that qualifies as both cruel and unusual in the extreme.

Do the backers of this bill really believe that it is in line with the values of the people of California?   That the State of California would revert to the cruel practice of the gas chamber,  a type of execution used by the Nazis, is taking our state down a morally perilous and dark road.

Organizations like SAFE California are fighting back to prevent the adoption of SB 779.  The people of California should not allow this bill to pass - - contact the California District Attorneys Association and your local state representative.  Let them know that this bill is unacceptable, cruel and base.  It has no place in a civilized society.  It has no place in California.


The attorneys of Schwartz & Powell are members of the CA Attorneys for Criminal Justice, which strongly condemns such legislation as SB 779.  We are criminal defense attorneys handling homicides and death penalty cases as well as other criminal defense matters in Ventura County , Santa Barbara County and Los Angeles County.   Contact us for a committed legal defense because   Experience Matters.