Did California Try to Rush an Execution Before Its Sodium Thiopental Expired?


A panel of three judges ordered a Federal District Court in California to reconsider the execution of Albert G. Brown Jr., the first execution in the state in more than four years. The reason? “The deliberative process might be driven by the expiration date of the execution drug,” wrote the panel. In 1982, Brown was convicted of raping and strangling a 15-year-old girl. He had been scheduled to die by lethal injection at 12:01 A.M. on Wednesday. On Monday, Governor Schwarzenegger postponed the execution to allow for more legal arguments on Brown’s behalf. The reprieve came shortly after it was announced that Brown’s execution would be the last until the state could restock its supply of sodium thiopental, a barbiturate. Calfornia’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation then rescheduled the execution for Thursday evening. According to the FDA, the drug has been in short supply around the country for the past year. The department’s supply of sodium thiopental was scheduled to expire Friday, just hours after Brown’s execution. We sincerely hope this isn’t part of the state’s plans to balance its budget.

Judges Question California Execution [NYT]