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Marin County judge nixes restart of death row executions

A Marin County judge Tuesday scuttled efforts to resume capital punishment in California, saying a 2007 injunction against executions remained in force "unless and until" the court approves newly revised lethal injection procedures.

The order issued by Marin County Superior Court Judge Verna Adams followed the setting of an execution date of Sept. 29 for death row inmate Albert Greenwood Brown. A Riverside County judge on Monday issued a death warrant for Brown, who raped and murdered a 15-year-old girl in 1980.

Adams' ruling was made at a hearing in the cases of two other death row prisoners, Michael Morales of Stockton and Mitchell Sims of Los Angeles. Morales, Sims and Brown are among the few death row prisoners, from among the 706 condemned inmates in the state, who have exhausted all appeals and are cleared for execution once the practice resumes.

Executions have been on hold in California for nearly five years, since Morales's defense lawyers challenged the state's former lethal injection procedures in federal court, alleging they violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment. U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel agreed and ordered revisions to the three-drug lethal injection sequence to ensure that the inmate was fully anesthetized before being given the final fatal dose.

A task force named by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger rewrote the execution procedures behind closed doors in 2007, but they were deemed illegal by Marin County Superior Court Judge Lynn O'Malley Taylor because they had been adopted without public input. It was Taylor's injunction that Adams ruled was still in force.

--Carol J. Williams

Comments () | Archives (7)

What the heck is the holdup?!!!!! Why even have a "death penalty" if it's not going to be used? This murderer has already had THIRTY YEARS more than he should have, his little girl victim got less than half of that for her entire life span. FRY EM.

So what if these death row inmates suffer a little when it is their time to go!
I am sure that some of them deserve it. So let quit pussyfooting about it and resume the executions.

Well let's do away with lethal injections and start drowning them. Dead is dead, who cares if there is a moment of pain right before death. This debate is laughably stupid. Sometimes I wish these Judges weren't such deep thinkers.

It's time for the US to get out of the community of barbarians that includes China, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Iran, and surprisingly, Japan.

In the United States and in the state of California, we operate under the rule of law. Right now, and for the last five years, there has been a legitimate challenge of the procedure by which convicted prisoners are killed in California. Why is there a rush lately to resume the execution process even though no "death cocktail" has been approved by the courts? I think it is a lot more important to our society to execute justice, not people. California is not falling apart because over 700 people are on Death Row. What's much more dangerous is that hundreds of California murders go unsolved every year and those murderers are actually roaming our streets. Now that is something to really worry about!

"This debate is laughably stupid. Sometimes I wish these Judges weren't such deep thinkers.Posted by: Tigerloose | August 31, 2010 at 03:51 PM"

These clown judges aren't deep thinkers, they're just trying to maintain their phony jobs...

"California is not falling apart because over 700 people are on Death Row...Posted by: Rabbi Jerrold Goldstein | August 31, 2010"

Actually, California is not doing so good and the death row characters are part of the problem...Now if we had a self supportive hard labor working prison, I would be in favor of Life and no executions...Since we don't, I'm in favor of execution for any 20+ year sentence...

I think its a shame that this has dragged out for more than 30 years for my family. The person Albert G. Brown murdered was my best friend and first cousin. No one can really know the hurt it causes our family to have a loved one taken from them in such a cruel and heartless way. Especially, for my Aunt and Uncle. We miss Sue every day. We will be glad to have this behind us once and for all. My God have mercy on Albert.


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