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February 19, 2006

Ninth Circuit rejects efforts to block California execution

As detailed in this AP article, the Ninth Circuit this afternoon "dismissed petitions seeking to block Tuesday's lethal injection" of death row defendant Michael Morales in California.  This comes two days after, as discussed here, Gov. Schwarzenegger denied a clemency request from Morales.

In Morales v. Ornoski, No. 06-7884 (9th Cir. Feb. 19, 2006) (available here), a Ninth Circuit panel rejects the request to file a successor habeas petition, and in Morales v. Hickman, No. 06-99002 (9th Cir. Feb. 19, 2006) (available here), a Ninth Circuit panel rejects claims lodged against the revised lethal injection protocol ordered by the district court.  Hickman is the more interesting read, though both suggest that a few circuit judges had a busy weekend.

Lawyers for Morales will surely continue to press these claims all the way to the Supreme Court, but I suspect this is one case that SCOTUS is prepared to let proceed despite all the questions now surrounding lethal injection procedures. 

Some recent related posts:

UPDATE: This article suggests that lawyers for Morales will seek en banc review of the work of the Ninth Circuit panel before pressing claims to the Supreme Court.

February 19, 2006 at 08:37 PM | Permalink

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