Judge Orders CA To Add Lethal Injection Safeguards


A federal judge says California can continue to carry out executions with lethal injections, including one scheduled for next week, as long as it adds safeguards to ensure inmates don’t suffer a slow and agonizing death, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose said the state must put a medically trained person in the San Quentin State Prison death chamber Tuesday to make sure Michael Morales is unconscious while deadly chemicals are paralyzing his muscles and stopping his heart. Fogel gave the state the option of eliminating two drugs in the three-drug sequence and using only the first drug, the sedative sodium pentothal.

Fogel said newly available evidence of executions at San Quentin has raised “at least some doubt as to whether (California’s) protocol actually is functioning as intended.” Accounts of six executions since 1999 indicate that inmates appeared to be breathing from two to 12 minutes after the execution began, even though the state’s medical expert has testified that the first drug, sodium pentothal, should halt all breathing within a minute, Fogel said.

Link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/02/15/MNG5CH8NQT1.DTL

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