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October 12, 2011

Florida legislator introduces bill to replace lethal injection with firing squad as execution method

This local story out of Florida, headlined "State Rep. files bill to add firing squad to death penalty laws," reports on a notable legislative reaction to litigation over lethal injection protocols. Here are excerpts:

State Rep. Brad Drake filed a bill Tuesday that would eliminate lethal injection as a method for execution in Florida.  Instead, people facing the death penalty would be allowed to choose execution by firing squad.  Electrocution still would be allowed under the bill [which is available here].

Drake, R-Eucheeanna, said in a news release issued Tuesday night [available here] that he filed the bill in response to debate over the effectiveness of certain drugs used in lethal injection executions.  “So, I say let’s end the debate,” he said in the release. “We still have Old Sparky. And if that doesn’t suit the criminal, then we will provide them a .45 caliber lead cocktail instead.”

In the release, Drake said the bill was in reaction to a group of doctors and legal experts who had been asking Gov. Rick Scott for a stay of execution for Manuel Valle, a 61-year-old man convicted of murder in the death of a law enforcement officer in Miami in 1978.

Valle was executed late last month after 33 years on death row. He was the first Florida inmate executed using pentobarbital as the first of three drugs in the injection.  His lawyers questioned the drug, saying it had not been tested for use to render an inmate unconscious.

“I am sick and tired of this sensitivity movement for criminals,” Drake said.  “Every time there is a warranted execution that is about to take place, some man or woman is standing on a corner holding a sign, yelling and screaming for humane treatment.  I have no desire to humanely respect those that are inhumane,” he said in the release.

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Comments

What an incredibly stupid move, if you actually want executions to go forward. It's not like making such a switch would make the litigation go away. The folks pushing the lethal injection litigation won't be satisfied until there is no legal means left to carry out a conceitedly legal death sentence. And especially so given that the lethal injection litigation has, for the most part, not fared well at all. If you suddenly make a switch like that the clock gets reset and you are going to see the litigation start from the very beginning and the judges are going to follow Baze or not, just like now.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Oct 12, 2011 10:15:59 AM

The only problem I could see this remedying is the lack of lethal drugs in Florida and other states. Like electricity, bullets would never run dry or be subject to the changing whim of a particular company. As for litigation, they'd probably see a ton of it.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Oct 12, 2011 10:25:09 AM

I think you are both undervaluing how important it is for politicians to make loud announcements about how tough they are on crime, while offering no useful legislative solutions to a problem that is rapidly solving itself. Empty, costly symbolism is the coin of the realm.

Posted by: Ala JD | Oct 12, 2011 10:47:31 AM

Ala JD,

Maybe grandstanding, or maybe not merely symbolic.

Firing squads are historically proven, and complaints by powerful attorneys and groups still effect both expensive delays and the mollifying of the execution of death sentences. [Many of this ilk cannot distinguish between murder and capital punishment.]

Remember Jose Baez re: Casy Anthony?
“I think that this case is a perfect example of why the death penalty does not work and why we all need to stop and look and think twice about a country that decides to kill its own citizens. Murder’s not right no matter who does it, whether its a ritual killing or someone becoming a victim in a drive by shooting. It’s disgusting..."

Posted by: adamakis | Oct 12, 2011 1:30:12 PM

Finally, someone makin' some sense.

Posted by: Al Ammo | Oct 13, 2011 10:21:29 AM

Lethal injection is the best way if it is administered correctly. I don't think that I have read about any
"botched" executions out of Texas.

I doubt this would pass the Florida Legislature. I have a much better bill for Drake to propose. After the US Supreme Court denies certiorari from the 11th Circuit's opinion upholding the death sentence, the State Attorney General shall have 10 days to ask the Governor to set a date. The Governor would have 10 days after that to issue the warrant. Then, we wouldn't have 45 men on death row who are "eligible" for execution. As in previous posts, I think removing the Governor from the decision process and assigning to the courts would be better.

Posted by: DaveP | Oct 13, 2011 2:34:17 PM

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