California Governor Jerry Brown’s new “austerity” budget, approved yesterday by the State Legislature, will drastically trim spending on courts, welfare services and schools. According to Attorney General Kamala Harris, law and order spending, which is typically one of the last budget items to go under the knife, will also suffer.
Over the past two days, Attorney General Kamala Harris and several law enforcement associations have issued statements warning of the consequences of Brown’s budget for public safety. $71 million will be cut from the California Department of Justice’s budget, eliminating DOJ’s law enforcement arm consisting of the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement and the Bureau of Investigations and Intelligence.
The California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement operated on a $51.07 million budget during Fiscal Year 2010-11, which the Bureau of Investigations & Intelligence’s budget during the same period was $37.13 million. Continue reading
Kamala Harris, after beating out Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley by a slim margin, took office today as the new attorney general of California. Harris had campaigned as an innovator and reformer in contrast to Cooley’s more cop’s cop image. She, unlike many career prosecutors, often pointed to problems with the criminal justice system–prison overcrowding, the state’s high recidivism rate, and the number of low-level offenders who become increasingly serious criminals when they enter the system. In her inauguration speech today, Harris pointed to those issues as things she’ll focus on as attorney general. She also pledged to fight white collar crime, stand up for California’s environmental regulations, uphold the right for same-sex couples to wed, and investigate internet crimes. A couple of portions of the speech were particularly interesting.
As the mystery continues over where states are getting stocks of the scarce anesthetic, sodium thiopental (commonly used in lethal injections), California filed papers today to tell a federal court that the state has ordered more–521 grams. Three grams are theoretically needed for a single execution (more if the first two injections are not sufficient to put the inmate to sleep). The state already has 12 grams and this latest order will bring the supplies to 533 grams, technically enough to execute 177 people.
There's a nationwide shortage of sodium thiopental, but California managed to obtain 12g, presumably enough for an execution
The state has replenished their supply of sodium thiopental, one of three drugs used in California’s current lethal injection procedure. The drug became a major issue last month when the scheduled execution of Albert Greenwood Brown was called off. During the legal tangle leading up to the stayed execution, it came out that the state’s supply of the drug expired on Friday, October 1–about five hours after the execution was supposed to happen.
Late yesterday, the attorney general’s office filed papers saying the state has a new supply–12g (3g are called for in California’s lethal injection procedure, though more needs to be on hand in case the first doses don’t work). The new stock expires in 2014.
Does this mean new execution dates can be set? That’s unclear: Judge Jeremy Fogel, who (along with the California Supreme Court) halted Brown’s September execution, said on Tuesday that he expects that no execution dates will be set until after he’s ruled in the case before him that claims California’s lethal injection procedure amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. (That wouldn’t be until at least January.) But then, he based that assumption on the fact, at the time, that California lacked lethal injection drugs. What happens next? I’ll let you know when I do. (Attorney General’s filing after the jump.)