There will be no executions scheduled in California in 2011, according to lawyers for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. At a hearing last week in the court room of Federal District Judge Jeremy Fogel, lawyers defending the state’s lethal injection process from allegations that it violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment said that executions would not be feasible until 2012. The reason? There’s a new warden at San Quentin State Prison and per state regulations, he’s assembling his own lethal injection team. According to the Stockton Record:
That execution team will be chosen by late August and attorneys for the condemned prisoners won’t get documentation of their qualifications until December, lawyers for the state’s attorney general told a federal judge Friday.
Learning this, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel, who is overseeing constitutional challenges to California’s lethal-injection procedure, delayed hearing final arguments from attorneys until January.
There are some 720 inmates on California’s death row right now. Seven are eligible to be executed, having exhausted all of their appeals. A number of those awaiting execution have joined the lawsuit against the state that claims California does not adequately ensure that inmates don’t experience extreme pain while dying.