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California federal judge bans public release of information on executioners

[JURIST] US District Judge Jeremy Fogel [official profile] has authorized lawyers to obtain information on executioners at San Quentin Prison, but has banned the release of any details about them to the public. Lawyers for convicted murderer and death row inmate Michael Morales [NCADP profile; JURIST news archive] are seeking to substantiate claims that the lethal injection method used by the California Department of Corrections [official website] and San Quentin Prison is cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment [text]. Fogel allowed the limited disclosure of information on prison staff Monday after a review of recent execution records raised concerns as to whether the drugs were being administered properly. Reuters has more.

Morales' execution, originally scheduled for February, was indefinitely postponed [JURIST report] when two anesthesiologists withdrew their agreement to monitor the injection of a three-drug combination widely used for capital punishment and Fogel imposed further conditions to reduce the chance of a botched and potentially painful execution. A full hearing on the constitutionality of California's lethal injection method is scheduled for May 2 in San Jose.

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