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Michael Angelo Morales Watch: Execution Delayed by Doctor Walk Out

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San Francisco Chronicle: Killer’s execution rescheduled

Delay comes before doctors walk out; new lethal injection set for 7:30 p.m.

The execution of Michael Morales for the 1981 rape and murder of a teenage Lodi girl was postponed early today when two anesthesiologists balked at their court-ordered assignment to make sure Morales remained unconscious during the lethal injection.

San Quentin State Prison’s warden quickly rescheduled the execution for 7:30 tonight by eliminating the anesthesiologists’ role and ordering that Morales be put to death with one drug, the powerful barbiturate sodium pentothal, instead of the three that the state has used since 1996. A federal judge had given the state that option but officials had previously rejected it, because it would take an estimated 30 to 45 minutes to kill the inmate instead of the usual eight to 10 minutes.

This delay of execution is BS and delays the justice for Terri Lynn Winchell heinous murder.

Morales should have been executed this morning and the last minute “TAMPERING AND MANIPULATION” of the legal system is to blame.

The voters of California have overwhelmingly voted to restore the death penalty (through the Briggs Initiative). The California and federal courts have done nothing but obstruct and hinder the law for decades. The California Death Penalty Process is BROKEN.

So, what is the FLAP with the anesthesiologists walking out?

The apparent sticking point was the physicians’ obligation, under procedures specified by a federal appeals court in a ruling Sunday, to intervene if Morales appeared to regain consciousness or displayed signs of pain. The court said the anesthesiologists would then have to take steps to render the inmate unconscious or “otherwise alleviate the painful effects” of the drugs.

“Any such intervention would clearly be medically unethical,” the doctors said in a written statement today. “As a result, we have withdrawn from participation in this current process.”

So, the 9th Circuit essentially ordered the physicians to kill Morales if they thought he regained consciousness and/or was suffering. The original order by federal judge Jeremy Fogel was inane and was biased towards delay. Fogel ordered:

1. 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.

2. The State of California can substitute a barbiturate or combination of barbiturates for the three-drug series they currently plan on using.

3. The State of California can station an experienced anesthesiologist in the execution chamber to verify that Morales is unconscious when he’s supposed to be.

Now, San Quentin State Prison’s warden rescheduled the execution for tonight at 7:30 PM using option 2 as ordered.

However, there are a couple of wrinkles in the case:

1. No doubt there will be appeals to this option 2 today – asking the federal court for the May 2nd Hearing or a later one. They will ask the court for the hearing due to the unusual and cruel nature of this mornings last minute delay.

2. No doubt there will be a request for an evidentiary hearing stating that option two by barbituates is “cruel and unusual punishment.” Look for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to weigh in here.

3. The “Death Warrant” expires at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. If the execution is not carried out before then, a Superior Court judge would have no more than 60 days to set another execution date. And would that warrant be easy to obtain, since the Ventura County trial judge, Charles McGrath has repudiated his sentence?

Flap is NOT optimistic that Terri Lynn Winchell will receive JUSTICE today.

Stay tuned…….

Death penalty opponent Frank Guerrero holds up a sign and a Mexican flag at the front gate of San Quentin Prison in San Quentin, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006, before the scheduled execution of Michael Morales, which was delayed until Tuesday night after two anesthesiologists refused to participate because of ethical concerns. Guerrero says he is a close personal friend of Morales, who is Mexican-American.

Previous:

Michael Angelo Morales Watch: United States Supreme Court Refuses to Halt Morales Execution

Michael Angelo Morales Watch: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Denies Clemency Petition


Michael Angelo Moreno Watch: State Agrees to Place Anesthesia Expert in Death Chamber


Michael Angelo Morales Watch: Lawyers Withdraw Allegedly Faked Juror Statements Supporting Their Clemency Bid


Michael Angelo Morales Watch: Federal Judge May Delay Execution


Michael Angelo Morales Watch: Ventura County Judge Asks California Governor Schwarzenegger for Clemency


Michael Angelo Morales Watch: Kenneth Starr to Assist Death Row Clemency Bid


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4 thoughts on “Michael Angelo Morales Watch: Execution Delayed by Doctor Walk Out

  1. I don’t believe one should wait such a long time to
    carry out the death sentence. It should be carried
    out shortly after the judgement. Because as time goes
    by people forget about the victims and the pain these
    people have caused. Strangling, battering the head with
    a hammer, raping the unconscious victim and finally stabbing
    her to death – such acts deserve no mercy and certainly
    no “kind” death.

    Chris from Germany

  2. The only possible reason Michael Morales should be allowed to live is to be used as a subject in medical experiments or cosmetic toxicity tests. Since that ain’t gonna happen, he must die. He is an evil man and those who support him are evil as well. That said, his case points out a huge problem in our criminal justice system–using testimony from jail house informants. Bruce Samuelson and Michael Morales were in jail at the same time for seperate crimes. Bruce testified at Michael’s trial that Michael bragged about the murder of Terri winchell. Bruce Samuelson’s testimony bolstered the “special circumstances” that the prosecution needed in seeking the death penalty against Michael Morales and Bruce Samuelson got a lighter sentence in exchange for his testimony.

    The problem is that Bruce Samuelson lied. What’s particularly tragic is that Bruce Samuelson’s testimony was unnecessary. Michael Morales has never disputed the basic facts of the crime. The forensic evidence and the testimony of Michael Morales’ co-defendant and other witnesses provided everything the prosecution needed to prove special circumstances and seek the death penalty. The only thing Bruce Samuelson’s testimony provided is an excuse for Michael Morales to litigate his death sentence since 1989.

    If tainted (and unnecessary) evidence had not been presented at trial, it’s entirely possible that Michael Morale’s appeals would have been exhausted fifteen years ago and he would have been the first person to be executed since California reinstated the death penalty in 1978 instead of Robert Alton Harris. And back then, California was still using good ol’ lethal gas so the debate over whether simply going nighty-night and never waking up is cruel and unusual would not even be up for discussion.

  3. HAWKINS says: The problem is that Bruce Samuelson lied.

    What’s that based on? The defense motion? Try reading both sides and you’ll see there’s little evidence Samuelson lied and even if he did, his testimony was reviewed by the jury. They took his testimony with a grain of salt as most juries do with jail house informants.

    The Samuelson issue has been dealt with in a number of appeals; all resolved in teh People’s favor.

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