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California Supreme Court blocks execution of Brown [Updated]

September 29, 2010 |  2:22 pm

The California Supreme Court on Wednesday blocked what would be California's first execution in five years.

Death[Updated at 2:25 p.m.: The high court said a separate challenge of the state's protocol for lethal injection remains pending, and the state cannot proceed until that is resolved. That challenge was brought by other death row inmates in Marin County Superior Court.]

The ruling is the latest twist in a legal showdown over whether Albert Greenwood Brown will be executed Thursday at 9 p.m.

On Tuesday, a federal judge said there was "no way" that court could conduct an adequate review of California's new lethal-injection procedures before the death sentence was to be carried out.

U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in effect reversed his Friday decision that the execution could go forward if the state gave Brown the option of dying by a single-injection method used in other states, rather than the three-drug cocktail prescribed by California's new regulations.

Time has become a crucial factor in whether Brown will be put to death this year.

The attorney general's office has said that the state's supply of a key drug that renders condemned prisoners unconscious will expire on Friday, and that further executions would have to wait until at least next year, when new supplies are expected.

Brown was convicted of raping and killing a 15-year-old Riverside girl in 1980.

-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco

Photo: Albert Greenwood Brown. Credit: Riverside County Sheriff's Department