"San Mateo judge refuses to set execution date for condemned killer," is Howard Mintz' report in the Oakland Tribune.
A condemned San Mateo County killer will have to wait his turn for execution with the rest of California's 725 death row inmates.
A judge on Monday refused San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe's bid to accelerate the execution timetable for Robert Green Fairbank, on death row for the 1985 murder of a San Francisco woman. Fairbank has exhausted all of his legal appeals, but executions remain on hold in California as a result of state and federal court orders in challenges to the state's lethal injection method.
Without any elaboration, Superior Court Judge Barbara Mallach found she did not have the authority to interfere with those court orders.
As a result, Mallach rejected Wagstaffe's argument that Fairbanks could immediately be given an execution date with instructions to put him to death with a single lethal drug, bypassing the other courts. A Los Angeles judge this fall rejected the same argument in a case brought by Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, who was seeking execution dates for two death row inmates.
Wagstaffe said the decision did not come as a surprise, but he considered the legal maneuver an important step in getting executions back on track in California.
Fairbank is one of at least 13 inmates who would be eligible for execution dates if the lethal injection challenges are resolved, which is unlikely to happen until next year or later.
California has not executed anyone in nearly seven years.
"Judge rejects San Mateo County DA's request to set execution date for condemned inmate," is the AP report, via the Republic.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley had sought a similar court order for the immediate execution of two other Death Row inmates. A judge rejected that request as well.
The San Mateo Daily Journal reports, "Judge refuses to set execution date." It's written by Michelle Durand.
A San Mateo County Superior Court judge Monday refused to set an execution date for a condemned inmate whose appeals have expired, saying she did not have authority to override other courts wrangling with questions over lethal injection.
Judge Barbara Mallach did not elaborate on her decision but the ruling rendered moot any further discussion yesterday on whether the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is able to use a single-drug method rather than the controversial three-drug protocol that has essentially put executions on hold.