California judge re-opens path to executions

In a state appeals court Monday, a California judge issued a decision to resume the practice of capital punishment in the state.

In 2006, because of widespread concern about potential wrongful convictions and unfair application of the death penalty, the state Assembly’s Public Safety Committee passed legislation that placed a moratorium on executions.

A commission was delegated the task of conducting a study to determine the most effective ways of preventing wrongful convictions and recommending solutions to the state Legislature by 2008, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Monday’s decision effectively removed one of the last-remaining obstacles that stood in the way of reinstating executions in California, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Now, on Sept. 29, the state is set to execute Albert Greenwood Brown, who was convicted 30 years ago for the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl.

Opponents of this reversal in policy claim that execution still remains too dangerous and risky of an action for the state to engage in.

“There are still too many questions about the serious flaws in [the] system to proceed with the execution of any prisoner,” Lance Lindsey, head of the non-profit organization Death Penalty Focus, told the French news agency Agence France-Presse. “The state is moving too hastily with reckless regard for the law.”

Additionally, many lawyers for death row inmates at San Quentin State Prison are seeking to extend the 2006 moratorium until procedures are improved, according to the Associated Press.

It remains unclear whether further judicial action will delay Monday’s decision from materializing. A federal judge could still overturn the decision.