SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court ordered a trial judge late Monday to reconsider his ruling that paved the way for California’s first execution in nearly five years.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel erred when he offered death row inmate Albert Greenwood Brown the choice of being put to death with a one-drug lethal injection or a three-drug cocktail.
Brother Slams Appeals Court Decision
Such a decision is “not consistent with California law” and placed “an undue burden” on Brown, the appeals court said in an unsigned opinion.
The court left it for Fogel to schedule a new hearing, though time is of the essence. Brown’s execution is scheduled for 9 p.m. Thursday, three hours before the state’s entire stock of sodium thiopental expires.
The California attorney general’s office said Monday it would recommend not scheduling any more executions after Thursday until the state can secure a fresh supply of the drug, an anesthetic that renders condemned inmates unconscious before lethal drugs are injected.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has said it likely can’t acquire more of the drug until next year. That would further extend the de facto execution ban Fogel put in place in 2006 when he found California’s lethal injection process deeply flawed.
“After a four-year moratorium on executions in California, multiple proceedings in federal court, a state administrative law proceeding, and state court appeals, it is incredible to think that
the deliberative process might be driven by the expiration date of the execution drug,” the court said.
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