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CA Delays Execution Of Albert Brown

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on September 29, 2010 10:17 AM

In a previous post, we discussed the application of Attorney General Jerry Brown, on behalf of the state of California, to resume state executions of death row inmates. Executions have been stayed in the state since a 2006 ruling by a federal court finding the state's method of execution was not constitutional.

Since the application was successful, the executions are set to resume in the state and that of Albert Brown was the first scheduled, initially set for 12:01 a.m. (PST) on Wednesday, September 29, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. However, Brown's attorneys have filed papers in both federal and state courts challenging the constitutionality of what they say is a rushed execution.

The execution, though delayed for many years, is under a time constraint. Within hours of the time of Brown's slated death, the state's supply of Sodium Pentothal, the sedative in the three-drug cocktail used by the state, will expire. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that other states have run short as well and the drug's maker, Hospira Inc., told the Associated Press that new supplies will not be available until at least January.

In the original court ruling on Friday, Judge Jeremy Fogel agreed to let the execution proceed. The Chronicle reports that on appeal to the 9th Circuit Monday night, the court was concerned the date for execution may have been driven by a drug's availability. "It is incredible to think that the deliberative process might be driven by the expiration date of the execution drug," the court said. In addition, the governor issued a statement saying the Thursday date was necessary to allow a state court injunction against executions to expire as well.

State officials have re-built the death chamber at San Quentin in an effort to follow the court order for changes that will make the process compliant with the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Albert Brown was convicted of raping and killing 15-year-old Susan Jordan in 1980.

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