The Next Phase in California's Lethal Injection Protocol Review

California recently released its revised lethal injection guidelines, following a June public hearing on the protocol. The 25-page document indicates small revisions, outlining such items as to when the curtains remain open in the execution chamber to definitions of the term “chaplain” and “lethal injection room.” Natasha Minsker, the Death Penalty Policy Director of the ACLU of Northern California called the revisions superficial. Minsker added, “In the current state of the state, we are still wasting money tinkering with the death penalty system.” Minsker suggested that by turning death sentences to life in prison without parole, the state could save $1 billion over five years.

Terry Thorton, a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesperson, explained that the public review process of the protocol still has several more steps before actually being adopted. “If during the next comment period it requires more changes, we have to put it out again,” she said. The public has until January 20, 2010 to comment on the changes, and the state has until May 1, 2010, to complete its public review process. For links to the revisions and full text of the protocol, see below.

(S. Smith, “State moves closer to resuming executions,” Stockton Record, January 6, 2009). Read the proposed revisions to the the protocol. Read the full text of the proposed protocol. See Lethal Injection.