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California Execution Injunction Lifted

Just in from the California Court of Appeal, First District (which includes Marin Co. and the Big Q):

In accordance with our notification to the parties that we might do so, we will direct issuance of a peremptory writ in the first instance. (See Palma v. U.S. Industrial Fasteners, Inc., supra, 36 Cal.3d at pp. 177-180.) Petitioners' right to relief is obvious, a temporal urgency exists warranting acceleration of the normal process, and no useful purpose would be served by issuance of an alternative writ, further briefing and oral argument. (Ng v. Superior Court (1992) 4 Cal.4th 29, 35; see also Lewis v. Superior Court (1999) 19 Cal.4th 1232, 1236-1237, 1240-1241; see also Brown, Winfield & Canzoneri, Inc. v. Superior Court (2010) 47 Cal.4th 1233, 1240-1244.) Let a peremptory writ of mandate issue directing respondent superior court to vacate its August 31, 2010 order granting real party Sims's motion to enforce the injunction and ordering the CDCR to refrain from carrying out any lethal injections unless and until the court dissolves its permanent injunction, and to issue a new and different order denying real party Sims's motion to enforce the injunction and related requests. This decision shall be final as to this court immediately. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.490(b)(3).) The parties shall bear their own costs. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.493(a)(1)(B), (2).) * Before Simons, Acting P.J., Needham, J. and Bruiniers, J.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation et al. v. The Superior Court of Marin County, A129540.  The unpublished opinion is here.

Plain English translation: (1) California can proceed with execution by the new lethal injection protocol; (2) the Superior Court judge who tried to block it has been chastised.

This doesn't resolve the federal case, of course, but no stay is in effect in that case, and the Supreme Court said in Baze v. Rees that it is error to grant a stay if the protocol is at least as good as the Kentucky protocol before the Court in that case, which California's clearly is.


I have a feeling that we haven't seen the last of the "unless and until" judge from Marin County.

She's objectively pro-criminal. Maybe she's angling for an Obama appointment to the federal bench.

Nonetheless, the Court of Appeal's order is what we call, in legal terms of course, a "smackdown."

Agreed. However, and not to be churlish about it, there is a victim's family who has been tormented by this animal and the interminable delays. That the pro-criminal judge gets smacked down isn't really that big a deal if the execution is delayed again.

Agreed again. I'm from Washington, where Holly Washa's family drove thousands of miles to witness the execution of Cal Brown several months ago, only to learn upon arrival that our state supreme court had granted a last-minute stay. (Fortunately, as you know, that sentence has finally been carried out, and Holly's family finally has some measure of justice.)

My only point is that swift, decisive action by an appellate court in favor of justice in a capital case is so rare in most jurisdictions (unfortunately) that I think it's worth celebrating when it occurs, however short-lived (unfortunately) such celebration may be.

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