san-quentin-1999.jpgIn the wake of a California Supreme Court ruling blocking Thursday’s execution of a convicted murderer, state officials this afternoon formally dropped their appeal of a federal court stay.

The action brings an end to the state’s efforts to execute Albert Greenwood Brown, 56, this year for the 1980 rape and murder of Susan Jordan, 15, of Riverside.

State lawyers filed a notice informing the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in San Francisco that they were dropping their appeal of a stay of execution issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose.

The attorneys wrote that under the state high court ruling, “no execution of Albert Greenwood Brown can occur on September 30, 2010, as a matter of state law.”
The appeal is therefore moot, the state said.

Brown had been scheduled to be executed by the state’s three-drug
lethal injection procedure at San Quentin State Prison at 9 p.m. Thursday.

The execution would have been the state’s first in nearly five years.

But the California Supreme Court effectively blocked the execution earlier today when it refused to change normal court deadlines governing an appeal in a state case concerning executions.

The court’s seven justices, in an order issued in San Francisco, said, “No compelling reason appears why this court should, by extraordinary means, remove an obstacle to Brown’s execution by denying” the normal appeal time in a case filed by two other inmates.

The state high court’s action means that a Marin County Superior Court injunction blocking executions remains in effect beyond Thursday night, while the inmates appeal a state Court of Appeal ruling that would dissolve the injunction.

Thursday is the last day this year on which an execution could be held because the state’s only supply of one of the drugs used in lethal injections expires on Friday.

Authorities have said they don’t expect to obtain more until next year.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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