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If Idaho can do it, why can't California?

No good reason.  CJLF's press release follows the jump.

Criminal Justice Legal Foundation


November 18, 2011
Michael Rushford, President
(916) 446-0345 

Idaho Execution Shows It Can Be Done

The Sacramento-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation announced today that further delay in carrying out executions in California is unnecessary, pointing to this morning's execution in Idaho.  According to the Foundation's legal director Kent Scheidegger, "California's execution protocol is equal to or better than those already approved by the U. S. Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit.  There is no legitimate basis for further delay.  We need vigorous leadership to carry out justice promptly in these cases."

This morning triple murderer Paul Ezra Rhoades was executed in Idaho.  Rhoades was executed using a three-drug lethal injection protocol similar to the ones used in Arizona and specified in the revised regulation in California.  On Wednesday, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied Rhoades' application for a stay of execution based on a challenge to the lethal injection method.  The U. S. Supreme Court denied review of that decision and denied a stay on Thursday.  Both courts were unanimous.

In the March 2008 case of Baze v. Rees, the U. S. Supreme Court upheld the three-drug protocol used in Kentucky.  The vote was 7-2, with the two dissenters noting that California's protocol had additional safeguards not used in Kentucky.  Since then, states around the country have resumed executions, but justice remains mired in litigation in California.

In September 2010, U. S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel issued a stay of execution in the case of Riverside murderer Albert Greenwood Brown.  The stay was based in part on the short time available to evaluate the case before the state's supply of a needed execution drug expired.  The state has since acquired an abundant supply of the drug.

Arizona's method of execution, similar to California's, was upheld by the Ninth Circuit in February of this year.  Arizona has carried out four executions since that decision.

The three-drug protocol in California, Arizona, and Idaho involves the sequential administration of sodium thiopental (or pentobarbital), pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride.  It is presently used in all states with the death penalty except Ohio and Washington, which use the first drug alone.

In the California lethal injection litigation, the parties have agreed to a leisurely discovery schedule extending to August 2012.  That does not necessarily mean that justice must be further delayed.  There is presently no court order staying executions statewide, and there would be no legal basis for issuing one, CJLF contends.

"The Supreme Court said in the Baze case that it is error to grant a stay if the state's method is at least as good as the Kentucky protocol upheld in that case," says Scheidegger.  "California's is better.  The state has a dozen murderers whose reviews have been completed.  These long overdue executions should be carried out in the next few months.  It can be done if our leaders have the backbone to do it."

CJLF Legal Director Kent Scheidegger is available for comment at (916) 446-0345.
Foundation arguments helped win five United States Supreme Court decisions benefitting law enforcement and public safety during the Court's previous term.

Criminal Justice Legal Foundation
2131 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95816 * P.O. Box 1199, Sacramento, CA 95812
(916) 446-0345 * Web page: http://www.cjlf.org
* Blog: http://www.crimeandconsequences.com


Now, we'll see if the press has the guts to ask Brown and Kamala Harris about this. My guess is not.

Mr. Scheidegger,

How about the CJLF representing the family of the victim in the Morales litigation using Prop 9 as standing to intervene in the silliness that is the leisurely pace in that case. Honestly, I think both Brown and Harris have been intentionally using that case to avoid the DP in California since it was filed.

Maybe Prop 9 does not give them any standing, but has anyone looked?

That's a possibility, but there are some procedurally tricky issues here.

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