Thursday, 18 January 2007

Governor promises court review of lethal injection by May 15

January 16, 2007

SACRAMENTO -- State officials said Tuesday they would submit revised
lethal injection procedures to a federal judge by May 15 in an
attempt to revive California's death penalty.

U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled last month that the state's
execution protocol was unconstitutional because it could result in
condemned inmates feeling excruciating or unnecessary pain. But he
gave the state the opportunity to try to fix the procedures.

Fogel said executioners were poorly trained, worked in dim, cramped
quarters and failed to properly mix the lethal, three-drug cocktail
used to kill condemned inmates.

The judge said there was substantial evidence that the last six men
executed at San Quentin Prison might have been conscious and still
breathing when lethal drugs were administered -- meaning they might
have felt unnecessary pain.

California has been under a capital punishment moratorium since last
February, when Fogel halted the execution of convicted rapist and
murderer Michael Morales.

In response to Fogel, the attorney general and governor's offices
said the state was "committed to reviewing, evaluating and revising
the current lethal injection protocol with respect to the identified
deficiencies and any others that may emerge during the evaluation."

They said they would file a report with Fogel by May 15 laying out
the changes in procedures they planned to make. Tuesday was the court-
imposed deadline to file the timeline.

They also asked Fogel to issue an order making their deliberations

"Such efforts, to be fully effective, must involve a deliberative
process that is not chilled by threats of depositions, subpoenas or
other premature discovery efforts," the response said. "Consultants,
experts and others may be reluctant to share information if there is
the threat of discovery."
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