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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Florida Supreme Court upholds state lethal injection procedure
Benjamin Klein at 6:00 PM ET

[JURIST] The Florida Supreme Court [official website] issued a unanimous decision [PDF text] Thursday upholding the state's lethal injection procedures and rejecting the assertion that the state's protocol constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment." The US Supreme Court currently has on its docket a case challenging lethal injection as unconstitutional, and earlier this week the Court granted a stay of execution [order, PDF; JURIST report] to a convicted murderer on Mississippi's death row. Some analysts have suggested that the Mississippi stay, which marks the third reprieve granted by the Court since September 25, signals a de facto nationwide moratorium [CSM news report] on lethal injections until the Supreme Court reaches a decision in the lethal injection case - Baze v. Rees. The Florida Attorney General [official website], however, said Thursday that the execution of Mark Dean Schwab [FCCD profile, DOC], the death row inmate who lost in Thursday's Florida decision, would remain scheduled for November 15.

Several constitutional challenges to lethal injection [JURIST news archive] have arisen across the country in recent months, mainly focusing on an argument that the first drug administered in a three-drug mixture [DPIC backgrounder] fails to make the inmate fully unconscious, thereby making the inmate feel excruciating pain when a heart-stopping drug is injected. Florida Governor Jeb Bush suspended all executions in the state [JURIST report] last December after a medical examiner said that the execution earlier that month of Angel Diaz [Amnesty profile] was botched. Diaz endured a 34-minute-long execution as a result of the improper insertion of needles during the first injection. The ban was lifted [JURIST report] in July. AP has more.






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