California has proposed a new lethal injection plan that calls for the careful selection of an execution team, rigid training, a new death chamber, and a team member in the chamber throughout the process to assess the inmate’s consciousness, reports the Sacramento Bee. A federal judge in December found California’s lethal injection protocol unconstitutional and urged Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to see that changes were made.
U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel pointed to a number of flaws in the way lethal injections were being implemented. He said the core of the problem was a lack of certainty that condemned inmates were not undergoing severe levels of pain in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s protection against “cruel and unusual punishment.” The judge found the former execution facility at San Quentin Prison poorly lit, overcrowded, and awkwardly designed for lethal injections. A new facility can be completed within 30 to 60 days once it is funded in the state’s new budget.