Controversy over death row execution

FRESNO, Calif.

Sunday's appeal comes just days after a U.S. District Court Judge cleared the way for the execution of convicted killer and rapist Albert Greenwood Brown.

It supposed to take place this Wednesday at San Quentin state prison and would be the first California execution since 2006.

Judge Fogel was asked yesterday to reconsider his decision, which he made on Friday. He refused.

Brown's attorney's filed court papers Sunday hoping a federal judge will prohibit Wednesday's execution from moving forward.

For nearly 30 years, Albert Greenwood Brown has been awaiting his death sentence at San Quentin State Prison.

In 1980, Brown kidnapped 15-year-old Susan Jordan on her way home from school. He then raped and killed her in this southern California orchard, and used a pay phone to call the young girl's mother; taunting her with messages she would never see her daughter alive again.

Tal Cloud a republican strategist in the Central Valley says Brown's execution is long overdue. "The family's despair over all these years, having to go through all this time is unfortunate. It's too bad death penalties don't move faster through the system."

David Mugridge, who knows the system well, doesn't agree. Mugridge is a criminal defense attorney based in Fresno.

Currently, he's defending Leroy Johnson, who is one of several suspects on trial for the murder of Sandra and Gary DeBartolo in their Kerman home in July of 2009. Right now, it's the only capital punishment case in Fresno County.

Mugridge says pursuing the death penalty is a financial burden for California taxpayers. "There's a tremendous amount of government resources that go into executing that individual. Money that could be much better spent on other items and still provides for retribution and safety to the public."

No one on California's death row has been executed since 2006.

A few years ago, the same judge who cleared the way for Brown's execution Wednesday ordered prison officials to overhaul its three-drug lethal injection cocktail over concerns it amounted to cruel and unusual punishment for inmates.

The death row chamber at San Quentin State Prison has since been rebuilt and the state adopted new lethal injection regulations.

But, ACLU officials in San Francisco aren't convinced those changes are enough to clear the way for Wednesday's execution. "It was a substantial likelihood that an execution would lead to serious pain. That issue still remains in front of judge fogal."

Aside from Sunday's filing, on Monday, Brown's attorneys plan to ask a Marin County superior court judge to block his execution while a recently filed lawsuit challenging the states lethal injections regulations is pending.

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