Friday, 2 March 2007

Review of executions on Crist's desk

Review of executions on Crist's desk

Errors were made in the Dec. 13 lethal injection of Angel Diaz, a state commission finds.

Published March 2, 2007

A panel that studied Florida's lethal injection procedures for the last month submitted its final report to Gov. Charlie Crist late Thursday.

Crist and Department of Corrections Secretary James McDonough both issued statements saying they would review the recommendations.

"We will review the report and adopt from it every recommendation that enables us to achieve the professionalism we seek, insofar as those recommendations are in compliance with the authorities of the Governor, the legislature and the judiciary," McDonough said.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush formed the commission after the Dec. 13 execution of Angel Diaz took nearly twice as long as normal. Footlong chemical burns were found on Diaz's arms during the autopsy, which revealed that the needles carrying lethal chemicals tore through his veins and splashed the fluids into his flesh.

Some witnesses reported that Diaz appeared to be in pain during the execution, which could have put Florida at risk of violating constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment. After eight meetings and hours of testimony, the commission decided it could not determine whether Diaz felt pain.

But the commission found execution team members made a number of errors and that state procedures were flawed.

The commission recommended a number of changes panelists hope will result in better leadership, oversight and accountability during executions.

Executions have been halted since the Diaz execution, and it was unclear Thursday how long it would take for DOC officials to review and perhaps adopt the panel's recommendations.

[Last modified March 2, 2007, 00:28:08]

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