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September 27, 2010

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger pushes back California's execution plans slightly

As detailed in this new AP article, "California's first execution in nearly five years was pushed back almost two days Monday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to allow courts more time to consider the condemned inmate's appeals." Here are more of the particulars:

Brown is now scheduled to die by lethal injection at 9 p.m. Thursday, said Terry Thornton, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Brown initially was scheduled for execution at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Brown's attorneys have filed simultaneous appeals in federal and state courts, claiming California improperly adopted its new lethal injection procedures. They also allege that execution under the new regulations would amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

The 45-hour reprieve pushes the execution to within hours of the Friday expiration date on the state's supply of sodium thiopental, one of the drugs used in the lethal injection process.

September 27, 2010 at 10:17 PM | Permalink


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This extra time is a mistake.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 27, 2010 10:33:51 PM

The expired medication will still be safe and effective to use for years to come, unless the package got opened, and the drug has changed in appearance. This is evidenced by FDA studies of the potency of 100 of different drugs stored for 15 years by the military in huge warehouses without air conditioning.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 28, 2010 1:39:21 AM

It's a fitting irony that this story gets posted immediately after the "bore them to death" story about unconscionable delays in carrying out the death penalty.

It's difficult to imagine a more vivid case of litigation as game playing. If people want to cut back on the excessive costs of the criminal justice system, appeals like this would be a great place to start.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 28, 2010 6:12:32 AM

This inmate Brown was the respondent in California vs Brown, 479 US 538 (1987). Its amazing it has taken 30 years since the murder and this long with all the appeals. There is a lot of fault to pass along why this has happened and it all starts with Jerry Brown's appointees to the California Supreme Court: the Rose Bird gang, on to the ultra liberal 9th circuit where most of the court was appointed by former President Carter. The 9th upheld the death sentence, but it took forever in federal court. Had not the Supreme court reversed the CA Supreme court 5-4, Brown might be serving life today.

Posted by: DaveP | Sep 28, 2010 7:16:36 AM

In addition to the above post, this Albert Brown case is ironic. Jerry Brown appoints liberal justices to the California Supreme Court who oppose the death penalty. I am sure he knew this when he selected them. They reverse Albert Brown's death sentence on direct appeal, fortunately reinstated by SCOTUS. Now, 30 years later when he wants to be Governor again, as Calfornia's attorney general, he wants to execute Albert Brown. Fascinating.

Posted by: DaveP | Sep 28, 2010 7:36:09 AM

Any delay of this sort should always be by order of the court. The executive should not be in the business of granting preemptive delays in anticipation of what a court might or might not do.

I would go so far as to say that the executive should schedule the execution as soon as a death verdict is handed down and force the courts to grant the stays. Giving a gift of this sort to a murderer who has gamed the system for decades is obscene.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Sep 28, 2010 8:56:45 AM

It looks like the 9th Circuit has stayed the execution, or at least ordered a hearing that will necessitate a stay. Apparently, they didn't like Fogel's meddling or the fact that the drug is about to expire.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Sep 28, 2010 10:40:48 AM

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