Judge Rejects Execution Procedure

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December 17, 2011
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On December 16, Marin County Superior Court Judge Faye D'Opal rejected the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's proposed new rules for the execution of prisoners.

The judge said that prison officials had violated state law by not justifying their decision to continue using a three-drug cocktail to kill condemned prisoners and  offered no reasons for rejecting reasonable alternatives.

She also said that the department did not make documents related to the proposed new rules available to the public in a timely manner and had failed to evaluate the increased expense of the new procedures. 

Executions have been on hold in California since 2006 after a federal judge ruled that the state's lethal injection execution process posed the risk of cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

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The judge's decision comes at a time when a group of law enforcement officials, crime victim advocates and people exonerated from wrongful convictions are trying to qualify an inititaive for the 2012 ballot to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.