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May 15, 2006

Interesting piece on California capital politics

The Sacramento Bee today has this interesing piece on current state California's capital punishment system, entitled "Death penalty dilemma: For some legislators, medicine and politics create a quandary."  Here is a snippet:

[State Senator Sam] Aanestad is among a handful of medically licensed professionals in the unique position of also serving in the California Legislature when the state's death penalty procedure is being challenged in the courts. Their views offer a window into a complex social debate about the death penalty — and suggest they may not have clear answers for themselves.

At issue is whether doctors should play a role in executions even though the medical community deems such participation a violation of their ethics code. In the case of Michael Angelo Morales, who was sentenced to death for the murder of a Lodi teenager, a federal judge ruled that a professional licensed to administer intravenous medications must inject the lethal dose. The procedure was halted, however, after two anesthesiologists backed out over the possibility of having to advise the executioner if Morales became conscious or suffered pain during the lethal injection.

In response, two bills with opposing intentions are winding through the Senate and Assembly — one from Aanestad to protect doctors if they participate in executions and the other from Assemblymen Alan Nakanishi, R-Lodi, and Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, to block doctors from taking part. 

May 15, 2006 at 02:45 PM | Permalink

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