Judge Rejects California’s Latest Execution Protocol

A judge has rejected California’s new lethal injection protocols, which have been five years in the making, because corrections officials failed to consider a one-drug execution method now in practice in other death penalty states. the Los Angeles Times reports. Ruling the protocols “invalid,” Marin County Superior Court Judge Faye D’Opal noted that one of the state’s own experts recommended the single injection method as superior to the three-drug sequence approved last year.

State officials must decide whether to appeal D’Opal’s ruling or again revise the lethal injection procedures that were deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2006. The ruling appears to halt a federal judge’s review of whether the changes to the state procedures are sufficient to allow executions to resume after a six-year suspension. D’Opal criticized the state for ignoring many requirements of the law on revising official procedures, saying that officials failed even to explain why they rejected the one-drug method. California has 722 inmates on death row, but it is nearly six years since the last execution.

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