LOS ANGELES -- A judge turned down a bid Monday by the Los Angeles County district attorney to order the immediate execution of two death row prisoners by a new single-drug injection method.
Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler said he did not have jurisdiction to order the procedure that has never been used in California.
Executions in the state have been on hold for years while appellate courts consider the legality of the three-drug protocol now in place.
There are currently 725 prisoners on death rows in California, where voters will consider a ballot initiative in November that would replace the death penalty with life in prison without possibility of parole.
At Monday's hearing, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley suggested a virtual end-run around the current logjam in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals over the way executions are done.
Deputy District Attorney Michelle Hanisee said the three drugs used previously are no longer available.
The decision by Judge Fidler came as San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe asked a judge to set an execution date for Robert Fairbank, who was sent to death row for a 1985 murder.
A judge is expected to consider Wagstaffe's request in October.
Cooley's motion involved the requested execution of two murderers who have been on death row for more than 25 years.
Mitchell Sims and Tiequon Cox have exhausted all of their
Sims was convicted of shooting a pizza delivery man in Glendale in 1985 after killing two co-workers at a restaurant in Hanahan, S.C.