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California Execution Drug In Short Supply

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SAN QUENTIN (KCBS) – There could be yet another twist in this week’s scheduled execution of a convicted killer and rapist at San Quentin State Prison.

It takes five grams of sodium thiopental for each execution and the Department of Corrections only has 7 1/2 grams on hand.

And the sedative is set to expire within two days of Wednesday’s scheduled execution of 56-year-old Albert Greenwood Brown, who raped and strangled a 15-year-old Riverside girl in 1980.

The shortage does not surprise Santa Clara University Law School Professor Ellen Kreitzberg.

“My understanding from the manufacturer is that they will not have any more of the drug until after the beginning of 2011,” she said. “Other states, like Kentucky have had to put their executions on hold because they do not have any of the dosage. All the doses they have have already expired and they have no ability to access any new, fresh doses of this particular drug.”

Kreitzberg said protocol calls for a backup dose of five grams if there’s a problem with the original dosage.

But in a Saturday filing to a San Jose judge who is handling the case, the Attorney General’s Office said just one backup gram is needed to put Brown to death.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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