No needle now for Death Row club
November 4, 2011
There will be no state-sanctioned executions in California until 2013 because of a federal judge’s decision Thursday. [San Francisco Chronicle]
Executions have been delayed since 2006 by court order as lawyers argue the issue of California’s lethal injection procedures. This state presently has 718 Death Row inhabitants.
A timetable proposed by attorneys for both the state and a variety of condemned individuals was approved by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco, to give both sides time for evidence exchanges. At issue is California’s constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Several federal court rulings during the past five years have required prison officials to revise execution techniques to conform with existing law.
The only U.S. manufacturer of one of the lethal drugs used in executions has since stopped production, forcing authorities to seek foreign sources. This has helped foster the argument that a mishandled execution could cause an inmate to remain conscious and die in agony.