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November 29, 2006

California lethal injection protocol assailed

As detailed in this Los Angeles Times article, lawyers challenging California's lethal injection protocols pulled no punches when filing their final briefs in the on-going federal district court litigation:

California's procedures for executing prisoners by lethal injection fall short of standards set by the veterinary profession for animal euthanasia and were formulated with less care than methods in China, the world leader in capital punishment, according to a brief filed Tuesday in San Jose federal court by attorneys for a death row inmate. In addition, the brief asserts that the execution team at San Quentin State Prison is "unlicensed, untrained, unprofessional and incompetent" to carry out its duties....

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation "conducts its executions in an outdated, cramped gas chamber with an undersized and dark anteroom," from which prison staff are supposed to assure proper administration of a three-drug protocol, the brief says.  The brief also says the state uses chemicals "mixed by untrained and unsupervised prison staff, while ensuring that there is no meaningful oversight or review."

Earlier this month, the California attorney general's office issued a ringing defense of the state's procedures, maintaining in its brief that "there is no evidence that any prior execution resulted in the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain." But the 274-page brief filed by Morales' attorneys finds fault with virtually every aspect of California's administration of capital punishment, frequently citing statements by state personnel during the proceedings.

November 29, 2006 at 07:18 AM | Permalink

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Why am I reading this blog? Our school paper www.CentralFloridaFuture.com March 26, 2007, has on cover "Professors debate death penalty issue at UCF" and at the end it references "Florida's Commission on Administration of Lethal Injection."

In my Google search for that, I eventually landed here.

I'm doctoral candidate in MIS (Management Information Systems) wondering why we have a judicial system that permits the ultimate Type I error. Trying to understand how information is mismanaged and mangled in the chain of custody to produce false convictions.

Since I think that people should not be falsely accused, I certainly believe it wrong to execute innocent. Seeking to understand why it's so hard for people in Florida (where I am) to count votes and to execute people when neither are novel events.

I presume that we have techniques that we are sure are humane for animals--are they not generalizable to humans? If so, why don't we use those procedures; if not, why not, and can we modify them to be humane for humans also?

Or are these questions too basic?

Posted by: JT Shim | Mar 28, 2007 1:19:20 AM

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In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB