Friday, 23 February 2007

Updates on the work of Florida's LI commission

February 23, 2007

Updates on the work of Florida's LI commission

Thanks to How Appealing, I see that the St. Petersburg Times today contains two articles about the work of the Florida commission reviewing the state's lethal injection procedures. This lead article is entitled "Panel finding answers elusive"; this companion article is entitled "'As if in pain': Notes from Diaz execution." Here are snippets from the lead article:

A panel reviewing Florida's execution procedures over the last few weeks has heard testimony that is part spy novel and part horror film. Anonymous executioners have testified over speakerphone with their voices electronically disguised. Some have refused to say much about their backgrounds out of fear they will be identified. Doctors have revealed details of lethal injection executions gone awry, including one expert who showed grisly photos of inmates whose deaths did not appear to come smoothly.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush formed the commission to study Florida's lethal injection protocols after the Dec. 13 execution of Angel Diaz took more than twice as long as usual. The 11-person commission is not questioning whether to put inmates to death, but only how best to do so. In several meetings over the last few weeks, the commission has heard conflicting testimony over how well lethal injection works and how badly the Diaz execution was botched. The commission will meet perhaps for the final time Saturday in Tampa to discuss recommendations that are due by March 1 to Gov. Charlie Crist.

Here are some of the key questions the group has confronted, and answers that have emerged.

  • What went wrong with the Diaz execution?
  • Did Diaz feel pain? And why is that important?
  • Doesn't the Department of Corrections have records of what happened?
  • Why do we use lethal injection in the first place?
  • What is the role of medical professionals during executions?

You will have to go the article to read the interesting answers to these questions.

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