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State regulators have rejected a proposal by the California Department of Corrections to revise lethal injection guideline procedures, now adding further delay in resuming executions, which have been on hold since 2006.
The Office of Administrative Law outlined several reasons for its decision not to accept the state's recommended lethal injection guidelines and has given corrections officials until October 6 to resubmit their proposal, the Fresno Bee reports.
As previously discussed, the revised execution guidelines were aimed at making changes in the death chamber procedures and address concerns over whether the three drug protocol constitutes "cruel and unusual" punishment.
In regards to procedural questions, the new guidelines need to clarify who can serve on the execution team, where witnesses can be located and how to deal with potential mishaps during the process. They also address issues related to a federal judge's concerns from 2006 about the state's three-drug formula, as previously discussed.
As a result, California's executions have been stalled by court order since 2006.
California has the nation's largest number of death row inmates with a record of now just over 700. Many legal experts have called the state's capital punishment system dysfunctional because it poses an empty threat.
The 21-page decision by the Office of Administrative Law noted that parts of the new regulation conflict with existing state law.
In addition, regulators found the meaning of a number of provisions murky. They also pointed out areas in which the corrections department failed to respond to comments, even though the law requires a response, including a 15 day public comment period.
California Department of Corrections officials say they are working to resolve the problems but in the meantime executions in California will remain on hold.