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Jerry Brown Backs Death Penalty in CA

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on September 22, 2010 10:12 AM

He has moved far away from his days as "Governor Moonbeam." Today, California Attorney General and current gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown is asking that California resume enforcement of the death penalty. Executions by the state of California were halted by a federal judge in 2006, when the state's lethal injection procedures were found unconstitutional and ordered to undergo revisions. Brown's current position is that the new injection procures adopted in the past month will meet the legal standards requiring inmates won't suffer "cruel and unusual punishment" when executed.

According to the Associated Press, a hearing in federal court in San Jose will address the AG's request. California currently has 700 inmates on death row and state officials want to execute six inmates in the coming months at San Quentin State Prison. One inmate marked for execution is Albert Brown, who was convicted of raping and killing a 15 year-old girl in 1980.

The AP reports the state's attorneys say the newly constructed death chambers are, ironically, "roomier and better lit" than the previous room which Judge Jeremy Fogel found too small and dark to be used to carry out executions in a constitutional manner. More importantly, the execution staff involved has had training in the correct handling of the three-drug cocktail the state uses in lethal injections.

In November of 2009, Ohio became the first state to switch to a single drug for its state executions. Ohio officials believe the single drug to be more humane than the three-drug system used by states like California.

Albert Brown's lawyers still intend to argue the execution staff is "hastily chosen," poorly trained and cannot perform in a manner which would not violate the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

In arguing for resumption of executions in his home state, Jerry Brown has come a long way from the political positions he took as governor of California from 1975-1983. He is currently locked in a tight race with conservative former eBay executive, Meg Whitman.

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