Thursday, 8 February 2007

Lack of accountability and oversight is one of the root causes of so many problems with our Death Penalty system


Please excuse the delay in getting this update out. It has been really hectic here making preparations for these meetings.

The meeting on Feb 5 did not include testimony from D.O.C. execution chamber medical staff. Warden Bryant had difficulties with the voice scrambler used to help conceal their identities. In an example of the sincerity of Governor Crist's new Open Government policy, his Office of Open Government Counsel, Pat Gleason, denied the request by the Warden to prohibit audio recordings. Executions have been exempted from the Administrative Procedures Act by the Florida Legislature. Lack of accountability and oversight is one of the root causes of so many problems with our Death Penalty system.

There should be two additional Commission meetings prior to the release of the final report. It was suggested that Tallahassee be the site of one meeting. More public comment is to be taken. I will find out more on this tomorrow.

There are press articles about Monday's meeting. This one seems to be the most comprehensive. See also DP in the News on the web site.

Monday's meeting was attended by Sol Otero - niece of Angel Diaz, Maria Nieves - sister of Angel Diaz, Alberto Hernandez - Diaz family member, Mike Pheneger - ACLU, Anti Death Penalty Activists Rosalie Bolin, Martha Mortenson, Dwight Lawton and Mary Berglund.


Following the botched execution of Angel Nieves Diaz on December 13, 2006, then-Governor Bush issued Executive Order 06-260 to create The Governor's Commission on the Administration of Lethal Injection. The Commission is charged with investigating the Diaz execution and making recommendations for changes.

All eyes are on Florida. Since the botched execution of Diaz, eight other states have joined Florida in suspending executions over rising concerns about lethal injection.

The Commission will meet in Tampa on Friday, Feb 9 and is scheduled to hold their final Tampa meeting on Monday, Feb 12, 2007. This historic investigation is the first time that Florida's Lethal Injection procedure has been officially reviewed by a panel in a public forum. This appears to be a powerful example of the new Open Government policy of Governor Crist's administration.

Friday's testimony is to include the FDLE Agent that was in the execution chamber as well as audio testimony from secret Department of Corrections execution medical staff who will conceal their identity. An Anesthesiology expert is also scheduled for Friday. There will be public comment taken from 1PM to 3PM. Monday's testimony will include expert medical witnesses and the Medical Examiner who performed the autopsy on Angel Diaz.

The preliminary report is due to Governor Crist by Feb 15 and the final report will be released March 1, 2007.

Tampa meetings are at the Tampa Airport Marriott. Office Level. Offices of the Florida Bar. Meetings begin at 10AM. Florida Bar Association (813) 879-5151.

For further comment contact Mark Elliott at 727-215-9646



Mark Elliott
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP)
(727) 215-9646
PMB 335, 2603 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hwy,
Gainesville, FL 32609

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty works for restorative
justice in the form of effective alternatives to the death penalty. It
does so by

* supporting and coordinating the work of organizations and individuals
* educating and energizing the general public and state legislators
* supporting the many persons affected by capital crime and punishment
* advocating specific legislative improvements

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