A federal judge in California recently ruled that the state’s death penalty policy is unconstitutional, making headlines across the country. The judge, Cormac J. Carney of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, declared that the use of the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. Even though California hasn’t executed anybody for the death penalty since 2006, there are still 748 people on death row. California has not been particularly aggressive on adhering to the death penalty in the past; only 13 people have been executed by the state. The ruling may not have had significant impacts on the current prospects for death row inmates in California, but the new precedent can influence future policies.