Attorney: Execution team didn't read
lethal injection guide
By Jason Bennert, Bay City News Service
September 29, 2006
SAN JOSE (BCN) - The individual who sets the rate that
the drugs in California's lethal injection procedure drip into
the condemned inmate's vein is the maintenance man at San Quentin
State Prison, the attorney for condemned inmate Michael Morales
Attorney John Grele made the statement during the cross-examination
of Dr. Robert Singler, a Napa anesthesiologist called as an expert
witness by the attorney for the state of California.
"Were you aware of the fact that it is the maintenance man
at San Quentin that sets the drip rate," Grele said.
Singler answered that he knew that a member of the execution
team set the drip rate but he did not know what that individual's
job was at San Quentin besides being on the execution team.
Grele also told Singler that the execution team has not read
the state's written guide describing the steps of the lethal injection
"No team member has read the protocol," Grele said.
Grele's cross-examination came on the final day of a four-day
hearing held in San Jose this week before U.S. District Court
Judge Jeremy Fogel. Fogel must determine if California's proposed
lethal injection procedure is legal or if it is an unconstitutional
example of "cruel and unusual punishment" because of
the possibility that the condemned inmates could experience excruciating
pain if they are not fully sedated when the lethal drugs are injected
into their veins.
In February, Fogel effectively halted Morales' execution only
hours before he was scheduled to be strapped onto the gurney by
ordering a "qualified individual" be present in the
execution chamber to monitor Morales' level of sedation. State
officials approached Singler and another anesthesiologist but
the pair ultimately declined to be present at the execution on
Morales is on death row for the 1981 rape and murder of 17-year-old
Lodi resident Terri Winchell.
Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred is attending today's hearing
with members of Winchell's family.
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