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. Zapavilla1

    This execution is 28 years too late. Why do you need to wait so long to flush your human waste. Issue shotguns to deathrow guards and tell them to clear their cell block.

    September 24, 2010 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. Kevin

    In Texas we fast track trash like him. He would have been gone by 1986...

    September 24, 2010 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. BMS

    Lethal injection is cruel and unusual? What about strangling a 15 year old girl with her own shoelace and raping her to death?

    September 24, 2010 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. jellylee2020

    "California may violate the Eighth Amendment because the state does not have procedures in place to insure that inmates are unconscious..."

    I have a mallet I can donate to the California penal system....

    September 24, 2010 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. Brian

    Wow. 28 years on death row. Typical of that state.

    September 24, 2010 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. Monty

    Why don't we just send all prisoners along with their defense attorneys over to Afghanistan so their heads can be chopped off by the Taliban without much fanfare? Imagine the tremendous savings we'd realize as a result? If the military objects, an alternative is to toss their butts down the Grand Canyon so the vultures can have a grand feast for a change...This jerk should have been put down in 1982, not 28 years late... Talk about a FAQin' impotent justice system we have!

    September 24, 2010 at 4:37 am | Report abuse |
    • frem

      What makes you so sure that the taliban will chop off his head? Over there, women are treated like animals or worse. They would probably praise him for his actions, claiming she acted immorally in his presence; probably singing a song or listening to her ipod.

      September 24, 2010 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. Frank

    I have no problem with issuing "...shotguns to deathrow guards and tell them to clear their cell block." But remember they are Correctional Officers, not "guards." Is Morales next.? Don't forget what he did to that young girl in Lodi. And then you have these Judges and Attorneys who are so concerned that Morales does not feel any Cruel and Inhuman pain during his execution. How do they know there is pain doing the execution, who came back and told them there was pain? Start working on that count of over 700 on Death row. Cut that 10 years on the Row to five. Heard a story of a trial in China where the suspect was charged with a theft of thousands dollars. Found guilty, within minutes he was led outside of the court room and publicly executed.

    September 24, 2010 at 4:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. sid

    Enough said .. This is how these demons should be handled

    September 24, 2010 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Bubba's Big Ax of Justice

      Indeed! These guys should end up as dog food.

      September 24, 2010 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. Plato1

    We should be executing about a thousand people a day in this country. People want law and order and as soon as it is about to be implemented, you have people whining that he is a person too, and people love him too. No he isn't, he is a POS that has lived too long in my world.

    September 24, 2010 at 4:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. Realoyalty

    If you forgive men their trespasses your heavenly father will also forgive you: But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15

    September 24, 2010 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. shelly

    suffer......he should of not lived this long!!!! i think the way he is being but to death is "being easy" on him!!!! my heart goes out to her family

    September 24, 2010 at 4:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. Realoyalty

    Let all bitterness, & wrath, & anger, & clamour, & evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice: & be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as god for christ's sake has forgiven you Ephesians 4:31-32 Vengeance belongeth to the Lord Hebrews 10:30

    September 24, 2010 at 5:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. Timothy l

    I do agree this man is sick

    September 24, 2010 at 5:17 am | Report abuse |
  14. Realoyalty

    Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

    September 24, 2010 at 5:24 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jaysunstar

    Am I the only person that thinks he looks like Danny Glover?

    September 24, 2010 at 5:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim in CA

      I thought it was him too

      September 24, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
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