Condemned man's attorneys file last-ditch appeals

Cal Brown is scheduled to die by lethal injection early Friday at the Washington State Penitentiary.

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WALLA WALLA - Attorneys for Cal Brown have filed three new actions in hopes of gaining a stay of execution.

Brown, 52, is scheduled to die by lethal injection early Friday at the Washington State Penitentiary for the 1991 rape, torture and murder of 21-year-old Holly Washa.

On Thursday, Seattle lawyers Gil Levy and Suzanne Elliott filed an emergency motion with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. On the same day Brown also filed an emergency motion to stop the execution along with a personal restraint petition in the Washington State Supreme Court.

The attorneys filed a third motion Friday in King County Superior Court seeking a stay based on Brown's allegation that he is incompetent and cannot be executed as a result. King County prosecutors are responding to that motion, said Janelle Guthrie, communications director for the state Attorney General's Office.

Brown's motion with the circuit court argues the lethal injection team is unqualified and Brown has been denied a chance a question the qualifications and experience of the team members, Guthrie said. The state attorney general's office has filed a response.

In his personal restraint petition, Brown argues the execution will violate the state and federal constitutions and asserts the death sentence should be reversed, because information relating to his mental illness was improperly downplayed during sentencing.

Guthrie said the state Clemency and Pardons Board is also scheduled to meet on Thursday and Friday, but Brown's case is not on its agenda at this time.

The board split 2-2 on a vote to urge the governor to issue a stay of execution on the eve of Brown's last scheduled execution date in March 2009.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

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