Judge spells out Morales execution procedure
By Jason Bennert, Bay City News Service
February 21, 2006, 3:45 p.m.
A federal judge has ruled that tonight's execution of Michael
Morales can proceed provided that a licensed medical professional
injects at least five grams of sodium thiopental directly into
U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel laid out a very specific
procedure that prison officials will have to follow if they wish
to execute Morales before the death warrant expires at midnight
"Accordingly, while defendants may proceed with the execution
this evening using only sodium thiopental, they may do so only
if the sodium thiopental is injected in the execution chamber
directly into the intravenous cannula by a person or persons licensed
by the State of California to inject medications intravenously.
The dosage used shall be at least five grams of sodium thiopental
to be followed by a 20 cc saline flush as provided in Protocol
No. 770,'' Fogel wrote in a ruling issued this afternoon.
A spokesman for the California Attorney General's Office issued
a statement saying lawyers from the office and prison officials
are currently discussing the judge's ruling to determine whether
to proceed with the execution using Fogel's procedure or whether
to consider other options.
Attorneys for Morales have argued that California's current lethal
injection procedure is flawed because there is a possibility that
the condemned prisoner may experience excruciating pain as the
lethal drugs are being administered. Earlier this month Fogel
gave prison officials two options for carrying out the execution
of Morales: either having a qualified medical professional in
the execution chamber to ensure that Morales was unconscious before
the potentially painful drugs were administered or executing him
solely with a barbituate such as sodium thiopental.
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