Ward Campbell, a California deputy attorney general, helped successfully prosecute serial killer Clarence Ray Allen, who was condemned to die. Since then, he has spent nearly a quarter-century arguing in appeals courts to uphold the work of the prosecution team. Now Campbell is battling against Allen’s petition for clemency with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. If he succeeds in that venue, and in turning down the assorted last-minute appeals that the condemned inmate almost certainly will file, the prosecutor will find himself standing outside the death chamber at San Quentin State Prison at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 17, watching through the window while the executioners administer Allen his lethal injection, reports the Sacramento Bee.
“I always believe I made a commitment to this case, and that’s part of fulfilling my commitment,” Campbell said about his observer’s role at the execution. “If you’re going to be an advocate for that type of punishment, you need to be willing to be present there. I feel a lot of somberness about it.”
Campbell, a career deputy with the attorney general’s office, has been afforded a unique view of the application of the death penalty in California. He could become the only attorney to have worked the trial, contested the appeals, handled the clemency proceeding and attended the execution.