US judge blocks Calif. execution set for Thursday

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge on Tuesday blocked what would have been California's first execution in nearly five years, giving a death row inmate who was two days from receiving a lethal injection a reprieve that could last months.
US District Judge Jeremy Fogel canceled Albert Greenwood Brown's execution after the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ordered him to apply different legal standards than the ones he used last week when he cleared the way for Brown to be put to death.
Fogel said he halted the execution scheduled for 9 p.m. Thursday because he didn't have enough time "to render a reasoned decision and permit adequate appellate review."
The judge said Brown's lawyers had "raised substantial questions of fact as to whether at least some of the deficiencies" in California's lethal injection process that prompted Fogel to halt California executions in 2006 remained.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office said an appeal would be filed Wednesday.