Death Penalty

Governor Pushes Back Execution, 9th Circuit Chides Judge



Governor Schwarzenegger has pushed back the execution of convicted murderer Albert Greenwood Brown
for another couple of days in order to give the court—actually three courts—time to once more review appeals.

Just to be clear, no one is suggesting that the state has the wrong man in Albert Brown.

Brown was convicted of raping and murdering 15-year-old Susan Louise Jordan in 1982 and there seems to be no doubt of his guilt.

The delay concerns the question of whether or not the state’s existing 3-drug lethal injection technology is still so tortuous that it should be considered a violation of the 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

As things stand now, the deliberations on the issue seem to have sunk into a quicksand of complications.

For one thing, even the company that makes sodium thiopental, one of the three drugs used in California’s lethal mix, has—according to the AP—informed prison officials across the country, “we do not support the use of any of our products in capital punishment procedures.”

And, remember, this is from the folks who stand to make money off the deal.

Moreover, the delay puts the execution within hours of the expiration date of the state’s entire supply of sodium thiopental.

(If none of the appeals are successful, Mr. Brown will die on Thursday morning at 9 a.m.)

And then if the sell-by date passes, the state can’t get any more of the stuff at all this year. It seems the factory is backed up with production problems, meaning there is a shortage of the drug, so we cannot resupply until some time in early 2011.


PICK YOUR POISON (LITERALLY)

Then, last Friday, things got genuinely weird when U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel, who was asked to stay the execution, declined to do so, but asked the condemned man what kind death cocktail he would prefer: one drug or three?

A startled Brown said he didn’t know. So, Fogel told him if he chose one drug, and the state insisted on three, then he Fogel would call off the execution.

On Monday, Brown’s attorneys took the matter to another judge-–who also declined to stay the execution, but offered no Lady or the Tiger choices about how many drugs would be used to kill Brown.

Still later on Monday, an unhappy 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stepped in and said that the thingy about giving the condemned a choice of one injection or three was not, in fact, okay.

The justices ordered U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel to do his damn job and figure out whether Brown’s appeal for a stay of execution was valid or not. (or words to that effect).

That is where things stood as of midnight Monday night


SO HOW ABOUT WE DON’T DO IT AT ALL, LIKE, EVER?

Meanwhile, using the delay as a jumping off point, the San Jose Mercury News has published an exasperated editorial opposing capital punishment in California altogether.

Here’s the heart of it:

Most death penalty supporters say it deters crime, but proof of that claim is scarce. And even as it fails in its central mission — preventing crime — the death penalty costs billions. California spends an estimated $125 million a year to administer it. Brown’s 28 years on death row, according to the ACLU, have cost $4.8 million more than we’d have paid if his sentence were life without parole.

So California has spent about a half-billion dollars the past four years without executing a single prisoner, not to mention the $400 million it’s spending to build a 1,400-bed death row and $853,000 for a sparkling new death chamber. Wouldn’t that money be better used to hire more police, beef up crime labs and assist victims?

Some say these costs could be avoided if the state would just speed things up. Doing so, however, would cost tens of millions more, since the reason for the bottleneck is that there aren’t enough lawyers and court staff to handle the necessary appeals.

But now is not the time to hit the accelerator. More than 100 people have been freed from death row in the past 35 years, including five last year. A criminal in Alameda County is six times more likely to get the death penalty than one in San Mateo County. Black defendants have received a third of all death sentences in the state but are less than 7 percent of the population.

California spends billions on a system that is so convoluted and archaic that it has resorted to asking a prisoner to choose which type of lethal injection he would prefer. It’s time to stop tinkering and abolish the death penalty.

Yeah. What they said.

19 Comments

  • “since the reason for the bottleneck is that there aren’t enough lawyers and court staff to handle the necessary appeals.”

    ***************************

    You mean the appeals by the ACLU and other liberals who want to defend muderous low lifes like Tookie Williams.

  • Why would this matter Celeste? Who cares if they support it or not?

    For one thing, even the company that makes sodium thiopental, one of the three drugs used in California’s lethal mix, has—according to the AP—informed prison officials across the country, “we do not support the use of any of our products in capital punishment procedures.”

    What does this show other than that Fogel is an idiot?

    Then, last Friday, things got genuinely weird when U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel, who was asked to stay the execution, declined to do so, but asked the condemned man what kind death cocktail he would prefer: one drug or three?

    A startled Brown said he didn’t know. So, Fogel told him if he chose one drug, and the state insisted on three, then he Fogel would call off the execution.

    SO HOW ABOUT WE DON’T DO IT AT ALL, LIKE, EVER?

    What are you going to say if this idiot has his sentence changed to LWOP and he kills another prisioner or guard? You going to be ok with that Celete? I have a different take, follow the law and let’s be done with the delays that are never needed. 30 yeras to figure out a case like this, hell even you know the truth about it so shouldn’t we follow the punishment that the law calls for?

    This is total bs Celeste, the reason for the penalty was established long ago, certain crimes are of such a degree that the penalty for them is death. You have to be kidding to think that it’s central mission is to reduce crime when for any punishment to meet that “mission” it has to be swift and sure. The death penalty in this state is anything but that and you know it.

    Most death penalty supporters say it deters crime, but proof of that claim is scarce. And even as it fails in its central mission — preventing crime…

    Nothing personal but this article is full of some of the craziest stuff I’ve ever seen you write. You know whose made this system arcahic, people like you and others who want to stall for any reason at all the death of really nasty people and give only lip service to the victims of their acts.

    Your arguements are incredibly weak on this issue.

  • So I guess what Sure Fire is saying here is that he’s privy to stats showing that capital punishment does indeed deter crime. Care to share them with us?

  • CA should just abolish the death penalty. To have it on the books and not enforce it in a case like Brown’s is ridiculous. If there’s a case in which the law was meant to be applied to, it’s this one. Yet it isn’t happening.
    Just do away with it.
    Oh, that’s right. They won’t/can’t, because public opinion is in favor of the death penalty.

  • The arguments are hilarious though. It does expose people’s willingness to make ludicrous statements with a straight face.
    Like:
    Lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.
    Really? Compared to what other way to be executed? ROFLMAO.
    Isn’t that how it’s done at a hospital when somebody’s loved one is taken off of life support? Aren’t they given drugs intravenously until their heart stops?
    This whole spin about the drugs is absolutely hilarious.

  • I never said it did Jim and it won’t, like any other punishment for a crime wouldn’t if it took 30 years to execute the punishment. Here’s what I said, what were you reading?

    “You have to be kidding to think that it’s central mission is to reduce crime when for any punishment to meet that “mission” it has to be swift and sure. The death penalty in this state is anything but that and you know it”.

    Celeste wrote this, not me.

    “Most death penalty supporters say it deters crime, but proof of that claim is scarce. And even as it fails in its central mission — preventing crime…”

    Anything else you need explained that I write you just let me know.

    By the way, this asshole could be the poster boy for someone who needs to be executed. Did you even read his history Jim? I told Old Man Reg once I’d be happy to be the executioner and empty Death Row in this state, I wasn’t joking and I could do it by being fair and impartial reading everything on every case. I’d save the taxpayers all kinds of money that we could put to better use. There are plenty like me out there Jim, scary huh?

    Probably more scary to you than guys like Albert Brown and that shows to me what the far left loonies are all about.

  • “Probably more scary to you than guys like Albert Brown and that shows to me what the far left loonies are all about.”

    Are you calling Jim Hitchcock a “far left loonie”?

  • I would probably be the first one to put criminals in front of a firing squad, until I hear the right’s cries and pleas for cruel punishment and execution. It’s them who make me compassionate toward the convict. I guess there’s a fine line between knowing that in some cases people will have to be punished harshly, and taking on the cause of harsh punishment or execution like it’s your favorite sports team.

  • Same reason I think “under God” should be banished from the pledge of allegiance. I personally believe in God, and actually believed that it should be in the pledge, until that whole debate started. The first time I heard a group of people doing the pledge, and actually harmonizing “UUUUUNDER GOD!!!!!!!”, and then cheering like 7 year olds at a Justin Bieber concert, I vowed to never say “Under God” when doing the pledge again. One Nation, indivisible. There. Just liberating.

  • Interesting to hear Script say he believes in God. One would have been led to believe otherwise considering his previous posts.

  • “I personally believe in God”

    So now you’re throwing science aside and participating in BLIND faith. Nice. How intellectual. No wonder your posts come from a mostly emotional slant.

  • “When I was younger, I would convince myself of something that I knew wasn’t true just because it’s what MOST OTHERS believed. Even though I didn’t go to Church, I was a Christian in theory…because everyone else was.”

    Now that’s what I call a miraculous conversion in three short days.

  • I don’t think we’re going to win big, ATQ. Maybe pick up a couple of seats. Obama will still be president for at least two more years, probably 6 more, because a lot of real Americans like me will be voting for him for continuing to take the fight to Al Qaueda.

  • SF,
    That’s what Rob does when he can’t debate with facts. It’s the Patriot Act on steroids and he knows it. There’s no denying that. But he just can’t admit it.
    So, he tries weak diversions and sarcasm.

    He was all aflame and hopping mad about the Patriot Act two years ago. It’s all good now. JUST LIKE THE WAR.

  • I hope it’s the patriot act on steroids and red bull. Anything to defend this great nation. Obama should get a medal of honor. This red blooded American is supporting the commander in chief, not bashing him. Can’t say the same for some of my colleagues in here.

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