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Judge Rules California's Current Lethal Injection Of
Death Row Inmates is Unconstitutional, “But Can Be Fixed”

Morales v. Tilton
    December 15, 2006

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  • McBreen & Senior, Co-Defense Counsel
  • John Grele, Co-Defense Counsel
  • Jenner & Block, Co-Defense Counsel
  • Attorney for Calif. Attorney General

    Related Links:
  • Criminal Law Center
  • Criminal Appeals
  • A federal judge rules that California’s current procedure for administering lethal injections to death row inmates “create[s] an undue and unnecessary risk that an inmate will suffer pain so extreme that it offends the Eighth Amendment,” concluding that the current protocol for administering lethal injections “lacks both reliability and transparency.”

    However, the court also noted that if the problems outlined in the opinion were corrected, it would be “prepared to find that the sequence of three drugs [given in lethal injections,] when properly administered[,] will provide for a constitutionally adequate level of anesthesia.” Judge Foley noted that any constitutional defects in California’s lethal injection procedure “appear to be correctable.”

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