California may resume capital punishment next week

On Monday, a state appeals court in San Francisco overturned an injunction on executions. The state is scheduled to proceed with the lethal injection of an inmate later this month, barring intervention by a federal judge. 

Albert Greenwood Brown was convicted of raping and murdering a 15-year-old girl in 1980. If his September 29th execution isn’t delayed by further legal challenges, he will become the first person to be killed by the state of California in nearly five years. A case has been made by another inmate challenging the new lethal injection protocol.  Chief Assistant Attorney General Dane Gillette said, “We are acting with the assumption that without any stay in place … that the execution will go forward.”  

California has had four years to introspect on its capital punishment procedures. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose sided with the attorneys of the condemned Michael Morales in 2006. They argued that standard protocol for lethal injections allowed for excruciating pain before death. A task force was assembled by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2007 to revise the execution procedures. That policy was blocked by a Marin County judge because they were written without public participation. The protocols were then redrafted by the California Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections and submitted for public scrutiny. The revamped procedures went into effect in July.  

Monday’s ruling from the court of appeals overturned the Marin County judge’s injunction.