Sacramento Bee: State OKs anesthesia expert at execution
Trying to stay on track for an execution next week, state lawyers agreed Wednesday to place an anesthesia expert in the death chamber to verify that the condemned man, Michael Angelo Morales, has been rendered unconscious before he receives the potentially painful drugs that will kill him.
The lawyers’ decision appears to satisfy conditions set by a federal judge for permitting the execution to proceed as scheduled at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.
Previously federal judge, Jeremy Fogel of San Jose, ruled California must alter its protocol for executions.
California must either change the way it puts condemned inmates to death, or scrap plans to execute Michael Angelo Morales next week, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose said the state’s logs “in at least six of 13 executions by lethal injection” raise “at least some doubt” that inmates have been rendered unconscious before being injected with chemicals that cause paralysis and pain.
Fogel said state authorities can postpone the execution that’s set for next Tuesday and defend their current procedure in a two-day court hearing, starting May 2.
Otherwise, said the judge, they have two options for proceeding: They can substitute a barbiturate or combination of barbiturates for the three-drug series they currently plan on using. Or, they can station an experienced anesthesiologist in the execution chamber to verify that Morales is unconscious when he’s supposed to be.
Fogel gave the state’s lawyers until the close of business Thursday to exercise either option. The judge said he’s prepared to stay the execution if they reject both changes in procedure.
Looks like there will be justice for Terri Lynn Winchell next Tuesday.
In a one-paragraph filing Wednesday, lawyers from the attorney general’s office said the state “will comply with the second alternative.” They told Fogel they had “obtained the services of two highly qualified, board certified anesthesiologists to monitor (Morales) throughout the execution” – one primary and the other a backup to be available as needed.
But…..Morales attorneys may have filed an objection (due to be filed a few minutes ago).
So, stay tuned……..