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May 4, 2009

California takes steps to get executions going again

As detailed in this Sacramento Bee article, headlined "State seeks to start executions again with new rules," California has taken a crucial step to get back to conducting executions.  Here are the basics:

California took a major step Friday to clear one of two legal hurdles that have halted executions at San Quentin for more than three years.  The state posted its new lethal injection protocol for executions and opened a public comment period as required under California's Administrative Procedures Act....

San Quentin's death row, the nation's largest, houses 680 prisoners.  The moratorium began on Feb. 21, 2006, when U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose stayed the execution of Michael Morales after a challenge by his attorneys to the state's lethal injection methodology....

In December 2006, Fogel found the state's practices in violation of the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. He cited evidence that condemned inmates are at risk of severe, unnecessary pain....  The hiatus has continued despite the U.S. Supreme Court's April 2008 ruling in a Kentucky case that lethal injections are not inherently unconstitutional.

A task force formed by Schwarzenegger revamped execution procedures in 2007 in an effort to allay Fogel's concerns, and a new death chamber has since been constructed.

But before Fogel could review the changes, a Marin Superior Court judge ruled that the governor and corrections officials couldn't switch execution protocol without public reaction. The 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco affirmed the lower court's ruling in November, and the state chose not to seek further review.

May 4, 2009 at 12:45 PM | Permalink


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If Fogel weren't such a hack, he'd vacate his proposed order and force the prisoners to refile the lawsuit and argue from Baze. Of course, we know he's a hack.

Posted by: federalist | May 4, 2009 12:48:56 PM

Public notice and comment is a small step in the right direction towards democratizing the process of killing people.

Usually those most in favor of killing are ardently against any public scrutiny of their means of killing. An actual public discussion will help spur on a real discussion about how we kill poor people.

Posted by: S.cotus | May 4, 2009 4:16:28 PM

Fogel hired a law student. She was a board certified doctor. She likely wrote the medical portion of his decision. I doubt Fogel could understand half its medical jargon. He could be quizzed on the meaning of its content. Question. Can an appellate decision be ghost written if the language is beyond the understanding of the judge?

The Supremacy is at a party in Cali. He runs into a big boss of the death penalty appellate business. He starts in on her, with the standard diatribe on this decision. In a Twilight Zone moment, she extends her arm. There are huge black and blue bruises in the inside of her elbow. "What is that?" "Lab techs had trouble finding my vein." "They violated your Eighth Amendment rights far worse than in the death chamber." "They had my consent." "The defendant had a lot more than consent. He had $million trial, and who knows how many $millions in appellate assurance of his procedural due process rights."

On the other hand, the defendant grabbed a girl, used her up sexually, and stabbed her a dozen times, without anesthesia and nor procedural due process. Her Eighth Amendment rights?

The appellate lawyer with the huge bruise? Did not utter the V word.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 4, 2009 9:31:32 PM

John R. Marek on the 13th and David Johnston on May 29th will be put to death at Florida State Prison, by lethal injection. No discussing for them here.

Posted by: Linda | May 4, 2009 9:35:08 PM

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