In the last seven years, not one of the 729 death row inmates has actually been injected.
That figure comes from a BANG story, which compares California's death row policies with Arizona's. Arizona, too, had a long hiatus in administering the death penalty, which was broken in 2010 when several court cases removed legal hurdles similar to California's.
An August 2012 story that we ran reports "ever since a successful 1978 campaign to reinstate the death penalty, California has spent roughly $4 billion and carried out only 13 executions. This breaks down to $184 million a year spent on trials and investigations, death row housing, and both state and federal appeals. Most death row inmates wait more than 20 years to see their cases resolved."
This ratio of effectiveness to cost was, of course, one of the arguments for Prop 34, which failed by 48 percent.
The BANG story looks at some of this costly legal "red tape," still in effect in California. It's both minute—how many injections to use—and lofty—that "evidence, gleaned from more than 20,000 homicide cases, that the death penalty statute is so overbroad that virtually any first-degree murder has been eligible, making it unconstitutional..."
It's worth a read.