Release Date:  September 18, 2014
Contact:  Michael Rushford
(916) 446-0345

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Petitions to use single-drug method filed

Family members representing five murder victims have filed petitions with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) demanding that it take immediate steps to resume executions.

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 1983, the Sacramento-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation has filed petitions under the state's Administrative Procedure Act with CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard, insisting he exercise his clear authority under state law to establish a one-drug execution protocol to end the delay in executing the murderers of their family members.

The current three-drug protocol has been blocked by lawsuits for the past eight years. Other states have eliminated similar delays by switching to a court-approved single-drug execution process which has allowed them to carry out executions.

In March 2010, responding to lawsuits delaying Washington executions using a three-drug protocol, that state adopted a single-drug protocol. Just six months later, the state executed Cal Coburn Brown for the 1991 rape, torture and murder of 21-year-old Holly Washa.

"It has been more than two years since Governor Brown ordered the CDCR to develop a one-drug protocol, but to date nothing has happened," said Foundation Legal Director Kent Scheidegger. "There is no legitimate reason why California has not adopted the same protocol as Washington and executed the murderers of Mr. Alexander's family and Mr. Winchell's sister," he added.

Under California law the CDCR has had the legal authority to adopt the single-drug protocol through an expedited process at any time over the past eight years.

In the Alexander and Winchell petitions, the Foundation is urging the CDCR to begin the process to implement this protocol within thirty days. If it fails to do so, court action will be necessary.

CJLF Legal Director Kent Scheidegger is available for comment at (916) 446-0345. Copies of the petitions are available on request at the same number.