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Morales v. California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation

California Court of Appeal
85 Cal. Rptr. 3d 724 (2008)


Facts

Pursuant to California statute, the San Quentin State Prison (San Quentin) is the only prison in which California inmates may be executed. The statute provides that, unless an inmate affirmatively chooses to be executed by lethal gas, the inmate will be executed by lethal injection. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and CDCR Secretary James E. Tilton (defendants) issued a protocol (OP 770) implementing the statutory directive requiring lethal injection unless an inmate elected otherwise. OP 770 further prescribed the procedures for lethal injection. Michael Morales and Mitchell Sims (plaintiffs) were two condemned California inmates. The plaintiffs challenged OP 770 on the ground that the CDCR adopted the protocol without complying with the rulemaking requirements of the California Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and enjoined the defendants from carrying out lethal injections pursuant to OP 770 until they promulgated OP 770 in accordance with the APA. The defendants appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Simons, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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