Saturday, February 24, 2007

Privacy of execution methods!?

An opinionated federal judge yesterday (February 23, 2007) refused to guarantee California state officials privacy in their discussions over revising the state's method of executing prisoners by lethal injection.

U.S.District Judge Jeremy Fogel instead promised to bar attorneys for the convicted criminals from seeking information about the state's deliberations until they are concluded and a proposed new protocol for lethal injection is unveiled by May 15th.

I believe that the entire discussion of proper methodology of lethal injection should be left to medical experts. I first contacted Judge Fogel, Gov. of California, and numerous state officials in October , 2005 regarding Anesthesiologist participation in the proper administration of lethal injection. Despite numerous written communications and mass media exposure over the ensuing 15 months, no acknowledgement or response was received from the bench or state officials.

The "new" protocol is long overdue. This should not be a subject for discussion between the State of California and over-zealous attorneys for condemned super-felons who are only interested in dragging out the already ridiculously complex and slow process.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had asked the judge to shield the deliberations from public view so participants would feel comfortable discussing options without fear of reprisals, intimidation, or subpoenas by the attorney for the condemned criminals.

In addition to lawyers for condemned inmate Michael Morales, the omni-present ACLU and the media had argued against protecting the deliberations from public view, and will probably seek information about the talks by filing requests through the California Public Records Act.

Fogel ruled in December, 2006 that California's method of executing prisoners by lethal injection violated the U.S. Constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. He called the system "broken" but added it could be "fixed." The state agreed to revise lethal injection methods and make public its proposal by May 15th. Fogel ruling was triggered by a challenge from Morales, who was sentenced to death more than 20 years ago for murdering Terri Winchell, a Lodi teenager.

The existence of death penalty in California is a prerogative of the People of California. As long as death penalty is legal punishment, it should be carried out without unreasonable delays. As long as lethal injection is a legal way of execution of a condemned felon, it should be administered in an ethical medically-proper way to avoid undue pain and suffering, but without including the condemned and the ACLU in the discussion of medical methodology. Allowing the condemned and ACLU to render a legal medical opinion, amounts to practice of medicine without a license--a felony in and by itself in the State of California!

Be Well!

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