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Calif. execution blocked by federal judge

In this June 2007 photo released by the California Department of Corrections is condemned inmate Albert Greenwood Brown. (California Department of Corrections)

September 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A federal judge has blocked the California execution of Albert Greenwood Brown, which was set for Thursday after reassessing the new injection protocol. U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel said he halted the execution because he didn't have enough time to decide the weighty constitutional issues raised by lawyers for Brown.

About two dozen protesters against the death penalty protested in Westwood on Tuesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been leading a state-wide publicity battle for the fight against the death penalty. They admit that there is no doubt Brown murdered the 15-year-old girl in Riverside in 1980.

"We object to anyone being executed. The death penalty in general, it's a wasteful, costly and broken system. And really, this case, the case of Albert Brown, has helped to illustrate exactly how broken that system is," said James Clark of ACLU. "We've been here for the last two weeks in complete legal chaos."

It was 30 years ago that Brown brutally raped and killed Susan Jordan on her way home from school. The jury agreed that Brown grabbed the victim, dragged her into an orange grove, raped her and then strangled her with a shoelace.

"He stole a future from her and stole a future from all of us, with her being in our lives," said the victim's brother, James Jordan.

Brown's execution was originally set for Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. He was scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection at San Quentin State Prison.

The use of the new lethal injection chamber had been delayed until at least 9 p.m. Thursday. A sedative used to put Brown to sleep expires Friday. New drugs won't be available until next year.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wasn't happy, saying earlier, "It's incredible to think that the liberty process might be driven by the expiration date of the execution drug."

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.

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