Death Row Rebuild Bidding Under Way

Categories: Government
He may soon be enjoying spacious new digs. Or maybe not.
It's a miracle that the grueling and litigious process required to redevelop one's property in Marin County hasn't led to enraged neighbors landing on death row.

Fittingly, the process to redevelop death row appears to be no easier.

The state this week began accepting bids toward a projected $356 million death row reconstruction at San Quentin, even as Marin County filed a suit this week attempting to kill the project.

The state has already received nine bids ranging from $126 million to $145 million for portions of the reconstruction. But that all may come to naught if a Tuesday lawsuit filed by Marin County's district attorney gains traction. That suit calls for a restraining order to halt the state from "encumbering or expending any funds for the San Quentin Condemned Inmate Complex until this litigation is resolved."

At issue: Marin County claims Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't have the right to use his line-item veto to eliminate stipulations forbidding the state from taking out bonds to finance a new death row until it answered legal questions about prison conditions. The governor's people, naturally, think he can.

Assuming the lawsuit doesn't move forward, the state anticipates the 541,000-square-foot complex, complete with 768 cells and 1,152 beds, will open in 2013.

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