Death Penalty

Judge Issues Tentative Decision Tossing California Lethal Injection Procedure

A California judge issued a tentative decision on Thursday finding prison officials failed to follow the law when adopting new state procedures for lethal injection.

If the judge’s decision is upheld, the Associated Press reports, it will “throw California’s stalled capital punishment system into further doubt.”

Judge Faye D’Opal of Marin County Superior Court will hold a hearing today to consider arguments by corrections officials that could change her mind, the story says.

D’Opal’s opinion said prison officials failed to consider a one-drug procedure recommended by one of their own experts to replace the three-drug lethal injection cocktail. According to AP, “She also said prison officials didn’t respond to all 29,400 comments received from the public before adopting the new protocols, as required for adoption of new state regulations.”

The death-row inmate challenging the procedures, Mitchell Sims, claimed prison officials rushed through the revisions and didn’t allow public participation in the regulation process, the Los Angeles Times reported last year. Sims was convicted in 1987 in the torture slaying of a Dominos Pizza deliveryman.

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