ACLUs Challenge Lethal Injection Procedure Proposals

All three California ACLU affiliates, including the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, jointly submitted a public comment to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) regarding the CDCR’s latest proposals for lethal injection procedures. The ACLU noted that the regulations continued to raise serious constitutional and other problems, including:

* restrictions upon the media’s First Amendment right to observe and report on executions
* infringements upon inmates’ religious rights to select a spiritual adviser of their choice
* a lack of clarity regarding submission and evaluation of information regarding the condemned inmate’s mental condition
* procedures for executing female inmates remained unaddressed
* standards for membership on the lethal injection team had been lowered without explanation, and
* there are no provisions for halting executions in the event of an unforeseen occurrence, such as the person showing signs of being awake during the execution.

“The minimal revisions in the proposed lethal injection regulations, issued just three days after its last proposal was rejected, show that the CDCR is not giving this serious matter the careful consideration it deserves,” said Stephanie Tang, legal fellow with the San Diego ACLU.

“Governor Schwarzenegger faces a golden opportunity to cut $1 billion over the next five years in wasteful spending from the state’s overstretched budget,” said Natasha Minsker, Death Penalty Policy Director of the ACLU of Northern California. “Instead of tinkering with a deeply flawed system, we hope the Governor will respond to the tens of thousands of objections from the public and replace our broken and stalled death penalty process with the swift and certain justice of permanent imprisonment.”

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