SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - In a one-page notice issued Wednesday, the state Office of Administrative Law rejected a new proposal from California officials to execute death row inmates using one of four different drugs or the gas chamber.
The office notified the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in the notice that its proposed regulations do not meet the standards set out in government code and procedural requirements, but the notice does not spell out the reasons for the agency’s conclusion. Instead, it said the agency will give the department a written explanation within seven calendar days, and officials will have 120 days “to remedy the issues” and resubmit the proposal.
California has 750 condemned inmates on the nation’s largest death row. However, the state hasn’t executed anyone since 2006.
Corrections officials submitted the plan in November in response to court pressure and amid a nationwide shortage of execution drugs. The plan would let corrections officials choose between four powerful barbiturates - amobarbital, pentobarbital, secobarbital or thiopental - for each execution, depending on which one is available. Inmates also could continue to choose the gas chamber for their execution.
Eight states have used a one-drug method, according to the nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes executions and tracks the issue. Five states in addition to California have announced plans to use a single drug, but they have not done so.
Executions in California stalled amid legal challenges after Clarence Ray Allen, 76, was put to death with three drugs in 2006 for ordering a triple murder.
Federal and state judges suggested the state could resume the punishment if it began using a single drug, prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to say in 2012 that California would consider a one-drug lethal injection.
Voters in November rejected a ballot initiative to end the death penalty but approved a separate measure, Proposition 66, that aims to expedite appeals so murderers are actually put to death. The state Supreme Court on Tuesday put implementation of Proposition 66 on hold so the court can hear arguments in a lawsuit challenging the measure.
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