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Case Name Sims v. California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation CJ-CA-0019
Docket / Court CIV 1004019 ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Case Summary
On August 2, 2010, a person incarcerated in San Quentin Prison and sentenced to death challenged the protocol used for execution. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that one of the drugs (pancuronium bromide) used in a three-drug formula was “unnecessary and dangerous" and only increased the ... read more >
On August 2, 2010, a person incarcerated in San Quentin Prison and sentenced to death challenged the protocol used for execution. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that one of the drugs (pancuronium bromide) used in a three-drug formula was “unnecessary and dangerous" and only increased the risk of excruciating pain. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiff sought declarative and injunctive relief in the Marin County Superior Court to prohibit use of the drug. The plaintiff, as well as two similarly situated intervenors, brought two claims against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). First, the plaintiff alleged that the drug violated the state penal code. Second, the plaintiff alleged that the CDCR's adoption of the policy did not comply with the California Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

On December 19, 2011, the trial court denied the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on the first state claim, but granted it on the second APA claim on February 21, 2012. The trial court noted that the defendants conceded that they had not complied with all of the APA's requirements. As such, the court permanently enjoined the CDCR from administering executions by lethal injection until new regulations were promulgated in accordance with the APA, and also from administering executions by lethal gas until regulations applicable to that method of execution were properly adopted.

On April 26, 2012 the CDCR appealed to the First District Court of Appeal, saying that under the Governor's direction, they would begin the process of considering alternate regulatory protocols, including a one-drug protocol for carrying out the death penalty.The appeals court affirmed the trial court's judgment with respect to lethal injection on May 30, 2013, holding that the CDCR's lethal injection protocols failed to comply with the APA requirements. The judge permanently enjoined CDCR from carrying out the execution of any condemned individual by lethal injection unless and until new regulations are promulgated in compliance with the APA. However, because execution by lethal gas was not at issue in the case, that part of the trial court's opinion was vacated.

Justin Hill - 01/19/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Death Penalty
Lethal Injection - Chemicals Used
Lethal Injection - General
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Torture
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Plaintiff Description California prisoner sentenced to death.
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 08/02/2010
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing CJ-CA-0005 : Pacific News Service v. Woodford (N.D. Cal.)
Court Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
State Court of Appeals
05/20/2013
Judgment [on District Court's ruling] (216 Cal.App.4th 1059)
CJ-CA-0019-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Source: State Court Website
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Judges D'Opal, Faye Court not on record show/hide docs
CJ-CA-0019-0002

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