Release Date:  March 28, 2018
Contact:  Michael Rushford
(916) 446-0345

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A ruling by a Marin County judge has lifted a 2012 injunction issued by the same court which had blocked executions in California. The ruling by Superior Court Judge Roy O. Chernus answered a January 21, 2018 motion by the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation (CJLF) on behalf of Kermit Alexander. Alexander’s mother, sister, and two nephews were murdered in 1984 by gang member Tiequon Cox, who is on death row awaiting execution. Alexander is also the proponent of Proposition 66, the initiative adopted in 2016 to remove unnecessary delay from the state’s death penalty process.

One of the causes of delay was a court-ordered requirement that execution protocols be adopted under the state’s cumbersome Administrative Procedure Act. The 2012 injunction was issued after condemned murderer Michael Sims claimed that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) had failed to properly meet that requirement. That requirement was eliminated by Proposition 66.

After legal challenges to the initiative were rejected by the California Supreme Court last October, the state could have immediately moved to have the injunction vacated. In January, CJLF filed the motion, which was later joined by the CDCR.

A hearing on the motion was set for today. Yesterday, Judge Chernus issued a tentative ruling granting the motion. When the attorneys for Sims declined to challenge that ruling in oral argument, the hearing was cancelled and the ruling became final.

Responding to the ruling, CJLF Legal Director Kent Scheidegger said, “this is the first of several legal steps necessary to resume executions in California. There is a federal court injunction which must also be lifted, and death penalty opponents have filed new lawsuits to block executions. We will be taking action to address these obstacles in the weeks ahead. The voters have spoken, and we will do what it takes to see that the law they enacted is enforced.”

CJLF Legal Director Kent Scheidegger is available for comment at (916) 446-0345.