Executions have been on hold in California for more than three years since U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel declared that unless significant changes were made to the execution process, he would be forced to find the process unconstitutional. Judge Fogel held several days of public hearings that exposed all sorts of shocking details about the incompetence of the personnel charged with carrying out the executions, including the possibility that members of the execution team were stealing small quantities of the barbiturates used for execution for personal use and that some members of the team had no idea what all three drugs used in lethal injection were or what they did.
In response, the State of California drafted a new set of regulations for carrying out executions which they claim addresses many of the deficiencies identified by Judge Fogel. On June 30th the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will be holding a public hearing on their newly proposed regulations for carrying out executions by lethal injection. They are also soliciting written comments from the public on the procedures.
Death Penalty Focus, the organization for which I work, is encouraging members of the public to submit written comments on the proposed regulations and attend the public hearing in Sacramento, CA. Aside from the fact, that we object to the death penalty as an ineffective and costly policy, we are horrified by the regulations themselves.
In drafting the regulations, the Department of Corrections has estimated that carrying out executions will not cost them a dime and have estimated the fiscal impact of the regulations at zero; an estimation which is clearly ridiculous if you consider even a few factors such a staff time for training and carrying out executions. What’s more, the regulations are offensive to the family of the prisoner and infringe on basic religious freedoms of the prisoner and his/her chosen spiritual advisor or prison chaplain and the first amendment rights of the media and the public (click here to read the full critique).
Death Penalty Focus and our partner organizations have declared June 30th a Day of Action to End the Death Penalty and we will be hiring buses to take our supporters from the San Francisco Bay Area to the public hearing in Sacramento. After the hearing, we will be rallying on the steps of the Capitol and sharing information with members of the State Legislature.
For more information on the hearing, instructions for submitting comments, a sample letter, and information on the Day of Action, visit: www.deathpenalty.org/dayofaction
Photo by Death Penalty Focus.
Posted by Stefanie Faucher, Death Penalty Focus.