BREAKING NEWS ~ California postpones Morales execution indefinitely Bernard Hibbitts at 8:58 PM ET
[JURIST] The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has said that the state of California has decided to postpone indefinitely the execution of condemned killer Michael Morales [NCADP profile], initially delayed late Monday after two anesthesiologists refused to take part [JURIST report]. Morales' death warrant had to be exercised by 11:59 PM Tuesday or state officials would have been required to obtain a new execution order from the trial judge, which might not have been forthcoming under the circumstances.
Morales, convicted in 1983 of murdering a 17 year old girl, had argued that the chemical cocktail to be used in his lethal injection violates the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment found in the Eighth Amendment [text]. US District Judge Jeremy Fogel [official profile] last week ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that California must change the drugs it uses when executing prisoners, and the Ninth Circuit on Sunday approved the presence of a doctor [ruling, PDF; JURIST report] to ensure that Morales would be unconscious during the execution.
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