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December 16, 2006

Who will demonstrate lethal injection leadership?

Florida Governor Jeb Bush's Executive Order 06-260 (available here) and Judge Fogel's ruling that California's administration of lethal injection is constitutionally problematic as available here are both fascinating reads.  Here are two quotes that particularly caught my attention:

  • From Gov. Bush's Executive Order: "[A]s a matter of humanity, constitutional imperative, and common sense, if the State is going to execute persons convicted of capital crimes, it must do so in a manner that comports to its own protocols and the United States and Florida Constitutions." 
  • From Judge Fogel's opinion: "This case ... presents an important opportunity for executive leadership."

These quotes are especially telling as one considers that federal litigation over California's lethal injection process has dragged on for nearly a year, and yet Judge Fogel says the case is "in virtually the same position today that it was in ... in February 2006."  Meanwhile, Gov. Bush's Executive Order demands from his Commission on Administration of Lethal Injection a "premilinary report" in roughly 45 days and a "final report" in roughly 75 days.  These reality reinforce points I made in this article about the importance of other branches playing a central role in cleaning up the lethal injection mess.

I stress these points because of the need for states other than Florida and California to be fixing lethal injection protocols.  The DPIC's year-end report details that Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Virginia all had active death chambers in 2006.  When will we see "executive leadership" in these states to head off problems that have made this situation so ugly in other states? 

As I have stressed before here and here, these issues of life-and-death are surely of national concern and have the federal court's tied up in knots.  Will we ever see "executive leadership" at the federal level to deal with these issues.   In the words of Governor Bush, isn't more work at the federal level "a matter of humanity, constitutional imperative, and common sense"?

Some recent and related posts:

UPDATE:  How Appealing has all the news coverage on the California and Florida developments here.

December 16, 2006 at 10:43 AM | Permalink

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