Sunday, 13 May 2007

The new Florida Lethal Injection Procedures and DOC Report


The new Florida Lethal Injection Procedures and DOC Report were released today. FADP will soon have a copy up on our website.

There is no change to the chemical cocktail, even after the Governor's Commission recommended a consideration to change chemicals and the recent U of Miami Medical School report that raised more disturbing questions about the chemicals currently used. Like so many other states, Florida is simply validating their LI chemicals and procedures based on what other states are doing.

The addition of a Narrator to the Florida execution process is a new twist I have not heard of, until now. The Narrator is to explain to witnesses what they are seeing. If it was not already presented as a theatrical event, it is now. It is so surreal and unnatural. Perhaps a Rod Serling voice would be best suited for the narrator.

In the event of a problem, the curtains will be closed to the soundproof Death Chamber. This is to "relieve any apprehension that might arise with witnesses otherwise unfamiliar with the process." The botched execution of Angel Diaz contrasted the testimony of experienced Death Chamber staffers who "saw nothing wrong" with witnesses who reported visual evidence of alarming problems. Now, witnesses will be TOLD what they are selectively seeing. Why bother to call them "witnesses"? As before, no family members of the prisoner are allowed in the viewing area.

The new, improved procedure attempts to create "a buffer for qualified health care professionals to participate only to the extent that their consultation is needed to resolve a venous or other technical issues without actually participating in the execution itself." The procedures are written "validating the limited involvement of the medical community to purely medical issues that are an aside to the actual process."

The procedures attempt to further obfuscate the roles of medical professionals by only mentioning "physicians" only once, as responsible for pronouncing death. Otherwise, all participants, except the warden are referred to as the "execution team" with a reference to a "technical team" mixing drugs and starting IV's.

There is no significant change in the execution chamber actions requested of medical professionals by the state of Florida. Doctors and other medical practitioners are still being asked to participate. It is up to physicians, the AMA and the Florida Board of Medicine to stop this unethical practice.

"A member of the execution team will assess whether the inmate is unconscious. The warden must determine, after consultation, that the inmate is indeed unconscious." What depth of anesthesia is "indeed unconscious"? How will it be determined? Which execution team member? What are their qualifications?

As for the possibility of another botched execution, the words of Harry Singletary, Governor's Commission panelist and former head of DOC, may be prescient: "We know for sure that this is going to happen again."

According to James McDonough, current head of DOC, executions could begin in the next 14 days. There are 20 Florida prisoners now eligible for Death Warrants and another 7 more soon. 4 are volunteers.

ACLU of Fla, AIUSA Fla, FADP, Florida Pax Christi, Fla Coalition for Peace and Justice, FDRAG, GCADP, TCADP are among those participating in a grassroots campaign to contact Gov. Charlie Crist and ask him not to sign any new Death Warrants.

Please see TAKE ACTION on the website.

Now is the time to increase and expand this effort ASAP. Write ANOTHER letter. Send ANOTHER email. Forward the TAKE ACTION Alert to as many people as possible.

Gov. Charlie Crist
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399

PHONE: 850-488-7146
FAX: 850-487-0801


It's not about what they did, it's about what we do.

Shine the light,


Mark Elliott
Director, Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty,
2840 W. Bay Drive, #118
Belleair Bluffs, FL 33770
(727) 215-9646

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