SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A death penalty opponent says California risks following other states in conducting gruesome, botched executions if it decides to use a single lethal drug to impose the penalty.
Ana Zamora, criminal justice policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, also said at a public hearing Friday that corrections officials aren’t properly disclosing how they would obtain the drugs that officials could choose from when conducting executions.
She says the state could save $150 million a year by ending executions entirely.
Supporters said at the hearing that crime victims have waited a decade to see executions resume.
The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation wants to use a single lethal injection to meet legal requirements amid a national shortage of execution drugs. Authorities could choose between four drugs.
The state previously used three drugs in executions.
The corrections department will consider the comments from Friday’s hearing as it develops its final regulations.
A Los Angeles County prosecutor says California could begin executions immediately if it adopts regulations involving use of a single lethal drug.
Michele Hanisee, vice president of the county’s Association of Deputy District Attorneys, says 18 inmates have exhausted their death penalty appeals, and the state has the means to resume executions for the first time in a decade.
Hanisee spoke Friday at a public hearing on the state corrections department’s plan to use a single lethal injection to meet legal requirements amid a national shortage of execution drugs. Authorities could choose from four drugs.
Opponents say the state is hiding how the drugs would be obtained and the effects of two drugs that have never before been used in executions.
Californians face a watershed year as they prepare to decide whether to resume executions that stopped a decade ago or end the punishment entirely.
While advocates jockey to put both choices before voters this fall, officials overseeing the nation’s largest death row are pushing ahead with plans to use a single lethal injection to meet legal requirements amid a nationwide shortage of execution drugs.
They will hold a public hearing Friday on their proposal to let corrections officials choose from four types of powerful barbiturates to execute prisoners.
A choice would be made for each execution, depending on which drug is available.
The single drug would replace the series of three drugs that were last used 2006.