Executions have been on hold for five years in California—the state with the most populous death row at 717 inmates—but will they resume in 2011? That depends on a ruling expected soon from federal Judge Jeremy Fogel, who in 2006 halted the execution of convicted murderer Michael A. Morales on the grounds that the means of execution were inhumane. That ruling required physicians to ensure that the sodium thiopental used to anesthetize the prisoner had taken full effect before the second injection induced paralysis and the third caused cardiac arrest. But because the American Medical Association’s ethical guidelines prohibit doctors from participating in executions, Morales' execution was called off when Judge Fogel's conditions couldn't be met. Patt talks with Judge Fogel about whether the state’s newly revised lethal injection procedures pass a constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Judge Jeremy Fogel, U.S. District Judge in San Jose