Thursday, 17 May 2007

The Department’s response to the Governor’s Commission on the Administration of Lethal Injection’s report

Media Clarification
May 8, 2007
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
(850) 488-0420

Media Clarification

On May 9, 2007, Secretary McDonough held a media availability to discuss the submission to Governor Crist of the Department’s response to the Governor’s Commission on the Administration of Lethal Injection’s report.

During the conference, the Secretary was asked to explain the rationale behind the Department’s recommendation that the warden in charge of the execution team not be the warden where the inmate was housed.

In the May 10, 2007 Palm Beach Post article, his response was reported as:

McDonough said insults hurled at Diaz by prison staff members during the execution spurred him to recommend putting more objective wardens in command.

However, his actual reply to the question was:

First of all I think that in the executions that I have witnessed in my time in the Department have been done under the direction of the warden at Florida State prison in a very proper way. But during some of the introspections and studies almost as an aside, points were raised that the condemned, specifically in the case of Angel Diaz, received an untoward comment from one of the staff. But it was never specified as to where that happened, when that happened or from whom it happened.

But that statement was made, and historically the innuendo at least has been there that this is not done in an objective, professional manner, when you have those that could be involved in the execution itself are working in and around the condemned for a period of time.

So to preclude any loss of objectivity, we felt that the warden and the execution team should have no proximity to the condemned in the time leading up to the execution. That meant of course that you had to form a completely separate team, those personnel from the department from separate institutions under, again, strong leadership. So the result of that was warden at Florida State Prison, where the chamber is, is the supporting official. He renders to the warden in charge of the execution all of the necessary support, but the warden from outside the institution and the team from outside the institution, they do the execution. That is their business.

For further information, please contact the Communications Office at 850/488-0420.

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