U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel said Tuesday he will schedule a mini-trial called an evidentiary hearing to resolve the issue.
Fogel announced his plans after a one-hour tour of the state's new lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison to see what improvements have been made.
Fogel placed the moratorium on executions after he found the previous facility too dim and cramped. The judge also cited inadequate lethal injection procedures and staff training.
Prison officials have since constructed a $900,000 facility and adopted new regulations.