Judge Authorizes CA Execution, Inmate Can Choose Drug Cocktail

California's executions have been on hold since 2006. A federal judge today cleared the way for them to resume. He said the problem regarding the method of injection is solved by allowing the inmate to choose between a one drug or three drug cocktail.

"Allowing a condemned inmate to make such a choice is consistent with Ninth Circuit authority in cases arising both in California and elsewhere," he wrote.


From the San Francisco Chronicle:

[Judge] Fogel acknowledged that he has not yet reviewed the state's amended procedures to determine whether they still pose a risk of violating the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

But he said the condemned inmate, Albert Greenwood Brown, could avert that risk by choosing to be executed with a single drug - a heavy dose of the sedative sodium pentothal - rather than the three-drug combination California has used in past executions.

The potential for excruciating pain comes from the second and third drugs, paralytic and heart-stopping chemicals, if the sedative fails to work properly. Fogel noted that Ohio and Washington state have used one-drug executions on nine prisoners in the last year without reported difficulties.

Here's the opinion.

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    Good News Jesus (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by john horse on Sat Sep 25, 2010 at 07:19:55 AM EST
    If Jesus was around today, I could see his lawyer visiting him in his cell and saying something like: "I've got some good news Jesus.  The Supreme Court has ruled that crucifixion is cruel and unusual punishment.  You're going to get the needle instead."

    Its the death penalty itself, not the method of death, that is cruel and unusual punishment.

    Witness (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by lentinel on Sat Sep 25, 2010 at 08:09:36 AM EST
    the stink engendered by the contemplation of stoning in Iran, hands on and nasty, with the relative calm engendered by the news of  the up-to-date 100% American version of paralyzing the lucky recipient so that the screams from the excruciating pain of the drug that stops breathing and then the heart cannot be heard by the assembled crowd.

    How is it unusual ... (none / 0) (#11)
    by nyrias on Sat Sep 25, 2010 at 11:12:56 PM EST
    when it is carried out hundred of times?

    Cruel is a matter of perspective. Ancient Japanese (and may be even some today) believed that committing suicide by cutting open ones' belly .. is honorable and not cruel at all.

    And if death itself is cruel, why do many suffering terminal patients seek it? It can't be that cruel.

    Plus, what if we are a little cruel to criminals? It is not like we don't wage war. I am quite sure that war is probably 100x less controlled and more cruel than giving a lethal injection to some low-life.


    mildly interesting, (none / 0) (#12)
    by cpinva on Sun Sep 26, 2010 at 07:41:37 AM EST
    yet completely nonsensical.

    1. sepiku is committed voluntarily by the individual, not forcibly by the government.

    2. last i checked, executed inmates aren't terminally ill.

    3. soldiers aren't tied down, then thrown into combat, they have weapons, and get to fight back.

    true .. but ... (none / 0) (#15)
    by nyrias on Sun Sep 26, 2010 at 10:16:09 AM EST
    1. & 2) i am talking about the attitude towards death. It is not always viewed as cruel & unusual.

    2. You never heard of a civilian being killed in war?

    Criminals aren't tied down before they are caught. And lots of the war criminals (those we hanged in WW2) were "tied down" after they lost the war.

    I'm kind of an eye for an eye guy (1.00 / 0) (#9)
    by beefeater on Sat Sep 25, 2010 at 12:55:49 PM EST
    The method of executing a convicted murderer should as closely as possible mimic the original method of death perpetrated on his/her victim.

    Justice delayed is justice denied.

    Justice (none / 0) (#10)
    by jondee on Sat Sep 25, 2010 at 10:36:24 PM EST
    that's a lofty concept for a country with an overabundance of pea brains who can't name a Supreme Court Justice and think the earth is situated at the center of the universe..

    But we'll skip over all the niggly details and go right to the meaning of justice..


    you confuse (none / 0) (#13)
    by cpinva on Sun Sep 26, 2010 at 07:46:26 AM EST
    justice with revenge, the two are not, by definition, mutually inclusive. i might add, executions are far less cost effective than incarceration for life. as well, given our less-than-perfect judicial system, the possibility that we might (and possibly already have) execute an innocent person should give even the most hardened fan of capital punishment cause for reflection.

    executives are more ... (none / 0) (#16)
    by nyrias on Sun Sep 26, 2010 at 10:19:39 AM EST
    expensive ONLY because of the cumbersome legal system where very expensive lawyers appealed to the highest courts with the same issues (say cruel and unusal punishment) again and again.

    The cost of an execution (couple of drugs + couple of people) is clearly LESS expensive than decades of imprisonment.

    There are cases where innocence of the convicted is not an issue (for example, with a mountain of physical evidence).


    There is another challenge pending in state court (none / 0) (#1)
    by fuzzyone on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 09:10:35 PM EST
    There is a challenge under the state administrative procedures act to the lethal injection regulations pending in a state superior court in Marin County which could still halt the execution. If that fails I believe there are seven men on the row who are out of appeals. The Department of Corrections says it can do one execution a month.

    Keep in mind that Dem candidate for governor Jerry Brown is the AG pushing this forward.

    Brown's opponent, Meg Whitman states (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:03:44 PM EST
    she will fight any attempt to weaken the death penalty.  

    if i were him, (none / 0) (#2)
    by cpinva on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 09:31:37 PM EST
    i'd request a dry martini, with an olive. alcohol is a drug.

    Really? (none / 0) (#3)
    by nyrias on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:02:56 PM EST
    Injecting a dry martini into your veins? Are you sure that won't cause lots of pain?

    You know what this guy did, right?


    I (none / 0) (#6)
    by lentinel on Sat Sep 25, 2010 at 04:29:39 AM EST
    don't know what the guy did.
    I will assume he is a lowlife s.o.b. who deserves the worst.
    It is not my goal to specifically offer a pleasant alternative.

    But it seems to me that if the idea to get rid of these folks permanently, and not to inflict pain and suffering upon them as they exit into internal damnation, one alternative should be a hot shot of heroin.

    From what I have seen dramatized, it is fast, and the victim goes with a smile into the cauldron.

    But, I guess, from the point of view of society, we do want the s.o.b. to suffer at least a modicum of excruciating pain.


    nope, (none / 0) (#14)
    by cpinva on Sun Sep 26, 2010 at 07:49:34 AM EST
    Injecting a dry martini into your veins?

    i was suggesting he drink it. hard to eat an olive shoved into a vein.

    i have no idea what he did, and don't care. i do care that the state is committing murder in my name.


    well .. (none / 0) (#17)
    by nyrias on Sun Sep 26, 2010 at 10:21:41 AM EST
    too bad .. you want to move to another state, or may be another country.

    Lots of people do want this guy executed. You don't care what he did. We do.


    Hello (none / 0) (#5)
    by lentinel on Sat Sep 25, 2010 at 04:23:12 AM EST
    Fogel noted that Ohio and Washington state have used one-drug executions on nine prisoners in the last year without reported difficulties.

    And who, exactly, would report the "difficulties"?

    Did any of the nine float back and give the thumbs up?