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March 1, 2007

Florida's LI Commission has final recommendations

As details in news reports here and here, "Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will get a slate of recommendations today on improving the state's lethal injection process, ranging from labeling lethal chemicals to making sure the inmate is unconscious during the procedure."  This article notes that the report coming today from the Commission on Administration of Lethal Injection, which was created by out-going Governor Jeb Bush back in December after a botched execution, "has more than a dozen other recommendations."

It will be interesting to see not only how folks in Florida respond to this significant report, but also whether the dozen other states actively struggling with lethal injection issues will look to this report for additional guidance.  My sense is that both death penalty abolitionists and proponents are not happy with some aspects of the Florida commission's work, which leads me to believe it is probably a pretty good piece of work.

UPDATE:  How Appealing has more coverage here.

March 1, 2007 at 07:54 AM | Permalink


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Well, I'm happy with the work of the commission. Just going by the anticipated recommendations (leaked earlier this week), they want medical personnel at the execution who will ensure unconsciousness and insert the IV. That alone will help - in fact those two aspects are perhaps mandatory to prevent an "unnecessary risk of excrutiating pain."

But whether other jurisdictions will listen remains to be seen. South Dakota, for instance, saw fit not to actually examine their procedures but rather only changed the statute to allow the Director complete discretion.

Posted by: rothmatisseko | Mar 1, 2007 10:48:35 AM

Defense Attorney & Commission Staffer

Just a quick observation regarding the above comment. The writer indicates that the Commission recommended that medical personnel participate in the execution process. Currently, Florida employs at least three medically trained individuals on the execution team. The problem is that these people were poorly trained and did not follow protocols. The profound dilemma arises because lethal injection may require highly trained medical personnel. The pool of available medical personnel, however, is diminished by the medical community's ethical guidelines prohibiting physician participation in executions. In the end, this was the major issue faced by the Commission.

Posted by: Peter | Mar 2, 2007 12:24:26 AM

Thanks for the insight, Peter.

As it turns out, after this provision was leaked the panel apparently changed its tune and now only requires competent people, not docs. But as the professionals testified, and the docs themselves admit, medical personnel are probably necessary.

Also, it's interesting that the docs didn't give advice on how to improve the procedure, for ethical reasons. That pretty much makes this report useless. Hopefully it won't be followed by other states.

And I wonder who the trainers will be. The same docs who wouldn't give advice? Where does the buck stop?

Posted by: rothmatisseko | Mar 2, 2007 1:07:26 PM

By the way, the "medically trained" individuals mentioned by Peter included a _doctor_ (gynecologist from Russian), who performed subsequent to the AMA's statement.

Also, the nurses' and EMT's associations have already barred them. Looks like we'll be outsourcing executions to the Russians from here on out...

Posted by: rothmatisseko | Mar 2, 2007 5:18:37 PM

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