September 23rd, 2010
11:07 PM ET

California prepares for first execution since lethal injection review

The execution next week of a California man who raped and murdered a 15-year-old on her way to school is set to proceed after the state appeals court overturned an injunction barring lethal injection, the Riverside County District Attorney's Office said.

Barring a last-minute stay or delay, Albert Greenwood Brown could become the first person to be executed in California in almost five years, ever since legal challenges arose over the state's lethal injection procedure.

And, if the execution goes forward as scheduled on September 29, he'll also be the first inmate to be put to death in California's new lethal injection chamber, which was modified to meet new requirements to come out of the lethal injection review.

Video: California readies for execution

Brown was sentenced to death in 1982 for the rape and murder of Susan Jordan, who was walking to Arlington High School in Riverside when Brown pulled her into an orange grove, according to court documents.

He raped and strangled her with her own shoelace and took her school identification cards and books. Later that evening, he looked up her family in the phone book and called their home, the documents state.

“Hello, Mrs. Jordan, Susie isn’t home from school yet, is she?” he said. “You will never see your daughter again. You can find her body on the corner of Victoria and Gibson.”

He also placed a call to police directing them to her body. During the investigation, three witnesses identified Brown as being near the scene of the crime. Police also found Susan’s school books and newspaper articles about her death in Brown’s home, and clothing with semen stains in Brown's work locker.

During the penalty phase of Brown's trial, his lawyer presented psychiatric evidence suggesting that he had emotional problems, including sexual maladjustment and dysfunction and claimed he was remorseful.

The jury deliberated for three hours before returning a death verdict, according to an opinion issued September 19 by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In post-conviction appeals, Brown claimed he had received ineffective counsel during the penalty phase, and that lethal injection constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

In his appeal, Brown cited the two cases that had brought a temporary halt to executions in California in 2006. But those cases did not find that lethal injection was cruel and unusual punishment, the three-judge panel wrote.

Rather, the cases held "only that the protocol as currently implemented in California may violate the Eighth Amendment because the state does not have procedures in place to insure that inmates are unconscious... prior to injecting fatal doses."

The justices denied his claims.

If his execution goes forward, Brown will be the first inmate to be executed under the new regulations that took effect August 29, after a lengthy review and certification process.

Among the new regulations, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation:

– A screening process for selection of execution team members and a periodic review process for team members.

– A comprehensive training program for all execution team members focusing on custody and care of the inmate, the infusion process, intravenous application and vein access, characteristics and effects of each chemical used in the process, proper preparation and mixing of chemicals, the security of the lethal injection facility, proper record keeping and other areas.

– Standardized record keeping to ensure there are complete and reliable records of each execution.

– Training processes for the proper use of sodium thiopental. Training processes were developed for proper mixing, preparation and administration of sodium thiopental.

– Improvements to the lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison, including steps to ensure adequate equipment, lighting and space.

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Filed under: California • Crime • Death Penalty
soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. God

    So, they are going to execute Danny Glover?

    September 24, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Redeye Dog

      aka Albert Greenwood Brown

      September 24, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |


    September 24, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jesus

    I'm glad they will execute him. Tired of seeing this trash walk around my hippy pot town.

    September 24, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Beth

    I would rather save the enormous amount of money our state spends on the death penalty, put these monsters in prison for life (it's much cheaper) and spend that money protecting our streets. Then we could actually prevent more people from being victimized.

    September 24, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thorrsman

      Well, actually, no "Life in Prison" is NOT cheaper. The execution is very cheap, the drugs they use don't cost much at all. It is the endless appeals from the bleeding hearts trying to keep monsters like this alive that cost so much. Streamline the appeals process and save money.

      September 24, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beth

      Thorrsman –
      Like it or not, appeals are a necessary process of our justice system. We need to give everyone the right to appeal – there is no other way to handle it. Imagine if someone framed you for murder, wouldn't you want the right to appeal? How is a judge supposed to tell the difference between you and a real murderer? If people didn't have a right to appeal, we would be executing innocent people left and right, and I am not about to have those deaths on my conscience. So yes, prison for life is cheaper.

      September 24, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beth

      how do you think we're going to pay for streamlining the appeals process? that process would be incredibly expensive too, becuase it means hiring SOOO many more lawyers and criminal justice officials.

      September 24, 2010 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Leroy Hawkings

    What up

    September 24, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. samantha

    Here we go again. The death is wrong and it prevents nothing. Murderers, all rapists and those who commit physical assault are the only ones who should be jailed, and the murderers and rapists should stay there FOREVER. That would be a deterant for everyone else. All other crimes should be dealt with in ways that fit the crime. There are ways to put most others (non-violent ones) to work in jobs that are directly related to their crimes for punishment. This way there will be room in prison for the violent offenders, who won't be let out to repeat their crimes over and over, especially on children.

    September 24, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thorrsman

      The Death Penalty is justice, life in a small metal cage is far crueler. No executed murderer has EVER killed again, while those serving life sometimes DO kill again. And again. And sometimes, yet again.

      September 24, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Redeye Dog

    No love here....

    September 24, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. WillyWalnuts

    The real crime here is that it's taken almost 30 years to execute this murderous sociopath. Killed the girl in 1982, then called the family to tell them where her body was ? Nail his feet to the floor and kill him with a flame thrower.

    September 24, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. nonPCrealist

    Punishment should fit the crime. This man is getting off way, _way_ too easily.

    September 24, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. drew

    Killing this person won't bring his victim back.and god didn't will this,the people of the state of california willed it

    September 24, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lee

    Off the subject but doesn't he look like Danny Glover?

    September 24, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bob

    LOL.. To the people on here that actually have the audacity to compare societys right to punish a murderer with the actual act they have committed I say.... Are you REALLY that stupid? You say it makes us no better than the murderer... Are you SERIOUS? Let me get this straight... you say that his act of raping and murdering a little girl is the same as societys due deliberate, methodical and fair processes to determine guilt and subsequent punishment of the purpertrator... are you actually SERIOUS? This shows how out of touch some of you people are with the needs and rights of a decent society.... To allow vermin such as this to linger amongst the living ANYWHERE on this planet is an obscenity and an insult his victim and her family and friends.... Your moronic view of what society is compared to its dreggs is a classic example of what is wrong with the criminal justice system in America.... Go back to your prayer beads and let the adult men and women run the world.... We'll call you when we need a rug woven or some beads strung.

    September 24, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BurningCadavre

    She's been gone for 28 years, I don't think she cares anymore. If she's still on Earth all this time while being dead I have bad news for religious folks.

    The world will not be a safer place when he's gone. Crime is a byproduct of your society.

    September 25, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Katherine Singh

    Do any of you know how medicated they keep these prisoners? Why because they can't deal with their every day life so we try and make them as comfortable as possible? I think if we just lock um up with no meds and let them deal with living in a 9X9 foot cell and think about their life and what they did we wouldent need to execute them they would do it them selfs! Saveing our country lots of money! Thats the way the prisons are in most other country's we need to lock them up and quit waiting on them hand and foot!

    December 22, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
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