San Jose judge tours San Quentin execution chamber
Fact-finding exercise examines California's lethal
By Anna Molin, Bay City News Service
March 31, 2006
SAN QUENTIN (BCN) - A San Jose federal judge toured San
Quentin State Prison today while listening to testimony from the
head of the prison's execution team as part of a fact-finding
exercise examining California's lethal injection procedures.
U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel on Wednesday ruled that
a press pool of two media representatives would be allowed to
observe the hearing as well as complete the tour. The reporters,
from the San Jose Mercury News and the Sacramento Bee were forbidden
to leak the identity of the leader of the execution team, which
includes 13 members.
Condemned murderer Michael Morales' attorney, whose client has
challenged the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection
execution procedure claiming it violates his civil rights, joined
Fogel and others on the tour, which also included the state Attorney
Morales' execution was delayed indefinitely in February after
correction officials found that they couldn't abide by Fogel's
rule that trained medical personnel oversee the injection procedure.
Morales has maintained that the three drugs administered conceal
an inmate's pain and amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.
Today, the execution team leader showed Fogel the step-by-step
procedures of the execution process, including a simulated version
of an execution.
Fogel asked numerous questions but did not give away any indication
of where he stands on the death penalty issue, Mercury News reporter
Howard Mintz said after touring the chamber.
Fogel has scheduled a two-day hearing in May to review Morales'
Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication,
Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent
of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.