Judge Jeremy Fogel, who ordered executions in San Quentin halted five years ago, toured the renovated San Quentin facilities to assess whether executions can proceed. ABC News report:
The L.A. Times adds:
Whether his concerns have been alleviated by rewriting of the legal protocols guiding the execution process and the physical changes made to the prison venue where death sentences are carried out was not immediately apparent.
The judge asked corrections officials questions about lighting, drug handling, conditions for witnesses and for the inmate's last hours but gave no indication whether the answers allayed his earlier concerns.
Fogel, leading an entourage of lawyers for the state, Morales and other prisoners facing execution if the practice resumes, went room to room in the clinic-like facility, inspecting the hand-lettered drug vials arrayed on two trays in the infusion room, where the execution drugs are to be mixed and delivered via intravenous tubes threaded through the wall of the adjacent death chamber.
Fogel said he hoped to have a decision about whether executions can proceed "as soon as possible" but set out a schedule for further hearings that will run at least through spring. California has 718 prisoners on death row, though only seven who have exhausted all appeals.