Californians face a watershed year as they prepare to decide whether to resume executions that stopped a decade ago or end them entirely.
While advocates jockey to put both choices before voters this fall, officials overseeing the 746 condemned inmates on the nation's largest death row are pushing ahead with plans to use a single lethal drug to meet legal requirements amid a nationwide shortage of execution drugs.
They will hold a public hearing Friday on their proposal to let corrections officials choose from four types of powerful barbiturates to execute prisoners. About 12,000 people have submitted written comments ahead of the hearing.
A choice would be made for each execution, depending on which drug is available. The single drug would replace the series of three drugs that were last used in 2006, when 76-year-old Clarence Ray Allen was executed for ordering a triple murder.
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