AP is reporting that the 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals says the State of California has postponed the Morales execution INDEFINITELY.
Los Angeles Times: Killer’s Execution Is Postponed Indefinitely
The state has indefinitely postponed Tuesday’s planned execution of convicted killer Michael Morales because of a court battle and medical ethics questions surrounding the method of lethal injection.
The state notified federal court officials that it is unable to comply with a judge’s order to have a lethal overdose of barbiturate administered to Morales by a medical professional in the execution chamber, a spokeswoman for the federal courts told The Associated Press.
Morales, 46, was supposed have died at 12:01 a.m. at San Quentin State Prison for torturing, raping and murdering a 17-year-old girl 25 years ago. But it was delayed until at least Tuesday night because the anesthesiologists objected that they might have to advise the executioner if the inmate woke up or appeared to suffer pain.
Prison officials planned to press forward with the execution on Tuesday night, skipping the usual paralyzing and heart-stopping drugs and killing him with an overdose of a sedative.
ASSociated Press: Calif. Execution Faces Indefinite Delay
The execution of a condemned killer was postponed early Tuesday after two anesthesiologists refused for ethical reasons to take part, and attorneys pursued a new round of court challenges that could delay the execution indefinitely.
Previously on Flap: Michael Angelo Morales Watch: Execution Delayed by Doctor Walk Out
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
“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 “As a result, we have withdrawn from participation in this current process.”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.
The judge approved that decision later Tuesday, but said the sedative must be administered by a person who is licensed by the state to inject medications intravenously, a group that includes doctors, nurses and other medical technicians.
Morales’ lawyers planned to appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They also asked the California Supreme Court to block the execution.
The state’s conduct “is offensive to a decent respect for human dignity and repugnant to the conscience of mankind,” attorney David Senior Wrote.
State officials said they were unsure whether they would proceed.
Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer, said prosecutors and prison officials were meeting to determine whether to go forward with the execution and “to consider other options.”
Flap is waiting to report any rulings from the 9th Circuit or California Supreme Court.