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Appeals court overturns injunction against executions in California

September 20, 2010 |  6:10 pm

A state appeals court Monday removed one of the few remaining impediments to the resumption of executions in California, helping clear the way for the lethal injection of an inmate later this month.

"We are acting with the assumption that without any stay in place ... that the execution will go forward," said Chief Assistant Atty. Gen. Dane Gillette.

The state is scheduled to execute Albert Greenwood Brown, convicted of raping and murdering a 15-year-old girl in 1980, on Sept. 29. But a federal judge could still delay executions, and another inmate has challenged a new lethal injection protocol.

The state has not executed anyone in nearly five years.

U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose halted the execution of Michael Morales in 2006 after his lawyers argued that the lethal injection procedures could expose the condemned to excruciating pain before death. Fogel has scheduled a conference on the case for Tuesday.

In 2007, a task force appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger revised the execution procedures. A Marin County judge then blocked them on the grounds they were written without public participation.

After that ruling, the California Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections redrafted the protocols and submitted them for public examination. A state office approved them in July.

Monday's decision by a court of appeal in San Francisco overturned the Marin County judge's injunction.

-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco