Death Row Chamber on Trial - NBC Bay Area

Death Row Chamber on Trial



    Federal Judge tours San Quentin death chamber after renovations. (Published Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011)

    U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel is returning to the scene of the ruling Tuesday.

    Fogel will make the drive from San Jose to San Quentin to review the prison's death row. The prison will host an official federal court hearing that could put the chamber back in business.

    Five years ago, a similar tour caused Fogel to impose what the Associated Press called a de facto moratorium on lethal injection executions. Fogel decided the chamber put inmates at risk of suffering cruel and unusual treatment, in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

    Since then the state has stopped all executions. It also redesigned and remodeled the chamber.

    Prison officials claim they are ready to resume.

    Fogel is not expected to make his ruling Tuesday, and whatever he decides is likely to be appealed.