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Hostile Review of California Lethal Injection Regulations

The California Office of Administrative Law (the bureaucrats' bureaucrats) on Tuesday disapproved the regulations on lethal injection promulgated by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Paul Elias has this story for AP. So, this administrative process that was unnecessary to begin with and has already dragged on far too long will be delayed further. But how much further?

It is evident from the disapproval decision that someone at OAL made a policy decision to review the regulations with maximum hostility. For example, OAL claims that the regulation conflicts with the governing statute on witnesses to the execution. The statute permits "at least 12 reputable citizens, to be selected by the Warden" with no upper limit. The regulation provides for attendance by, among others, "News media witnesses." OAL says this is a conflict. Really? Only if members of the news media are per se not reputable citizens. I'm sure the warden can find a few good apples in the barrel.

We don't have to put up with this. Penal Code section 5058.3(a)(2) allows the CDCR to use the expedited "emergency" procedures for adoption of regulations without the usual showing of an emergency but merely "if the director certifies ... that operational needs of the department require adoption ... of the regulation on an emergency basis."

The department is required by law to carry out executions on the date set by the Superior Court. That is an operational need. The need is unmet while we putz around with spamming campaigns flooding CDCR with irrelevant comments and punctilious bureaucrats with imagined or trivial objections. The director should exercise his authority and invoke the emergency procedures.


I'd love to see one of those hostile bureaucrats defend this nonsense to the victims' families.

I'd like to know their names.

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