It involves the question whether the murdered victim’s family has standing to sue the state regarding the implementation of capital punishment, and the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation has advanced this issue, as reported in their Press Release.

An excerpt.


A Sacramento Superior Court judge has issued a ruling requiring that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) defend itself in a lawsuit claiming that it has needlessly delayed executions of condemned murderers for the past nine years. The lawsuit, which was filed by the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation on behalf of the families of murder victims, seeks to force the CDCR to adopt a single-drug execution protocol which is currently used in several other states. In a ruling made available late yesterday, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Shellyanne Chang determined that CDCR is required by law to adopt an execution protocol and that victims have the right to seek court action to force compliance.

The suit (Winchell & Alexander v. Beard) was filed last November by the CJLF on behalf of Kermit Alexander, whose mother, sister and two nephews were murdered in 1984, and Bradley Winchell, whose sister was raped and murdered in 1981. They argue that as relatives of the victims they have been denied justice by the continued delays. Both murderers, Tiequon Cox and Michael Morales, have exhausted all appeals and, along with over a dozen other murderers on death row, would have already been executed or would be facing execution soon if CDCR chose to comply with state law and a 2006 federal district court ruling.

California’s existing three-drug execution protocol has been blocked by a federal lawsuit for the past nine years, although a 2006 federal district court ruling in Morales v. Hickman held that CDCR could resume executions if it adopted a barbituate-only protocol. A second decision by the California Court of Appeal requires that protocols be established through California’s cumbersome Administrative Procedure Act.

The victims’ suit asks the judge to order CDCR to adopt a protocol that is consistent with the limits imposed by those other decisions.

Retrieved February 10, 2015 from