Monday, 15 January 2007

Governor Appoints Five To The Commission On Administration of Lethal Injection

Governor Appoints Five To The Commission On Administration of Lethal Injection

January 15, 2007 7:06 a.m. EST

George McGinn - All Headline News Staff Reporter

Tallahassee, FL (AHN) - Florida Governor Charlie Crist named five appointments to the Commission on Administration of Lethal Injections Friday as its first deadline of Feb. 1 rapidly approaches.

The Commission was created by former Governor Jeb Bush during his final days in office. It is charged with reviewing the method by which lethal injection protocols are administered by the Department of Corrections.

Bush halted all executions after Angel Diaz, a convicted murderer, was executed on December 13, 2006. Bush said the "significantly lengthier death process" of Diaz indicated that the lethal injection protocols may need to be reviewed to determine if any additional protocols should be added or whether any existing protocols should be modified in any way. Diaz had to be given a second set of chemicals.

"As a matter of humanity, constitutional imperative, and common sense, if the State is going to execute persons convicted of capital crimes, it must do so in a manner that comports to its own protocols and the United States and Florida Constitutions," Bush wrote.

Crist appointed the following people:

Rodney Doss, 59, of Tallahassee, is with the Division of Victim Services, Office of the Attorney General of Florida.

Bill Jennings, 57, of Tampa, is the agency head for the Capital Collateral Regional Counsel, Middle District.

Harry Singletary, 60, of Tallahassee, is the former Secretary of the Department of Corrections.

Dr. Peter Springer, 41, of Ormond Beach, is the Volusia County EMS Medical Director with the Department of Public Protection, and a emergency medical physician with Halifax Medical Center.

Dr. David Varlotta, 49, of Tampa, an anesthesiologist with Unicom Anesthesia Associates.

On Jan. 4, Attorney General Bill McCollum appointed three people to this commission. Senate President Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, has appointed Sen. Victor Crist, R-Tampa, who chairs the Civil and Criminal Justice Appropriations Committee. Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice R. Fred Lewis appointed Circuit Judge Stan Morris, who sentenced serial killer Danny Rolling. He was executed last year.

House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-Coral Gables, has yet to announce his selection.

Bush created the commission Dec. 15, 2006, to review the method lethal injection protocols are administered by the DOC, and to make findings and recommendations that might revise the administration of lethal injections. It should not extend to re-evaluating the policy decisions of the Legislature in enacting a death penalty or the means chosen by the Legislature for implementing the state's death penalty.

Bush said Floridians, including those persons who are sentenced to death, need to be assured that the state continues to take reasonable and appropriate measures to ensure that its administration of death by lethal injection conforms to the United States and Florida Constitutions, as interpreted by current case law.

Lethal Injections have come under fire not only in Florida, but in many states.

In a Human Rights Watch report, Michael Radelet, a professor of sociology and law at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, Colo., compiled from media accounts 36 "botched executions."

"A number of lethal injection executions have gone terribly, visibly wrong". Radelet said. He defined "botched executions," those where there is the appearance of "prolonged suffering" on the part of the condemned inmate "for twenty minutes or more."

"Every day the evidence mounts that the United States is using unacceptably cruel methods to put people to death," said Jamie Fellner, director of the US program at Human Rights Watch on Dec. 15, 2006. "After so many botched executions, states cannot continue to execute prisoners using their current methods."

The commission must submit its preliminary report of findings and recommendations to the governor no later than Feb. 1, with its final report on Mar. 1.

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