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Battle Brewing Over State Executions

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Sacramento, CA — The battle over California’s voter-backed effort to resume executions is heating up, with state officials and death penalty supporters moving to end court orders that have blocked capital punishment since 2006.

Marin County Superior Court Judge Roy Chernus had ruled that the state failed to follow proper procedures when it set standards for conducting executions using three drugs. Yesterday, he tentatively lifted that order which had blocked the state from carrying out executions by lethal injection since 2012. Judge Chernus cited that voters’ approval of Proposition 66 in 2016, which did away with the state requirement to follow those procedures, left him with no choice but to lift his injunction. The judge’s decision can still be contested until he makes his final ruling, which no deadline for that has been given.

This case is one of four in the courts holding up executions, with none allowed to be carried out until all the cases are resolved. After which a separate legal battle before San Francisco U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg will spark a new round of arguments over how to humanely execute condemned murderers.

Currently, California has 750 inmates on death row; the nation’s largest number with 13 executions since 1978.