CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Best-if-killed-by date on lethal drug and the California death penalty

The Los Angeles Times has this story:

California's effort to carry out its first execution in nearly five years collapsed Wednesday when the state Supreme Court ended a furious legal battle, giving a convicted rapist and murderer a reprieve that could last until at least next year.

. . .

Prison officials had scheduled Brown's execution for 9 p.m. Thursday, just three hours before the state's only supply of a key drug used in the lethal injection expires. State attorneys have said that fresh supplies of the powerful anesthetic sodium thiopental could not be obtained until at least next year.

The Supreme Court faulted the state for seeking to carry out the sentence so close to the drug's expiration date, saying that effort had "contributed to circumstances incompatible with the orderly resolution" of legal issues surrounding the death penalty.

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