Governor Bush requests a review of what happened at the execution of Angel Diaz by Mitch E. Perry

12/14/06

At Governor Jeb Bush’s request, the Department of Corrections will review the procedures used in the unusually lengthy execution of a convicted killer Angel Diaz last night…..It took Diaz 34 minutes to die from the procedure, and witnesses said he appeared to suffer. Department of Corrections Secretary James McDonough appointed two corrections officials and an official from the state health department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to the team that will review the execution. McDonough released a statement today that said Bush directed him to conduct the review.

Meanwhile, in a petition filed this morning on behalf of death row inmates, lawyers called on the high court to order an autopsy on Diaz and to declare lethal injection unconstitutional because "it involves the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain contrary to contemporary standards of decency."

The controversy over last night’s execution revolves around the fact that State Department of Corrections officials had to dose Diaz with twice with the drugs given to death row inmates to kill him.

Death row attorney Martin McClain was NOT present at Wednesday night’s execution, but said the problem is the 3 chemical method the state uses in its lethal injection, saying it results in extreme pain that an inmate cannot express because one of the drugs is a paralyzing agent (roll tape#1 o.q.�and then do it again�)

Attorney Neal Dupree’s office represented Diaz in his appeals in Court. He was unavailable for comment, but he told the St. Petersburg Times that “It looked like Mr. Diaz was in a lot of pain.. He was gasping for air for 11 minutes. This is a big deal. This is a problem.�

Department of Correction officials did not return WMNF’s repeated phone calls on Thursday, but a spokeswoman did say Wednesday night that Diaz’s pre-existing Liver condition was the reason the procedure took so long. But Spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger did speak to Florida Public Radio today (roll tape#1A o.q.�that did occur�)

Mark Elliot is with the group, Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. He welcomes the investigation into Diaz’s execution, saying that it’s important to remember that the decisions made during an execution in Florida are not made by doctors (roll tape#3 o.q.�in the country�)

There is no time line for when the 1st and 2nd doses of drugs were administered to Diaz, because the Department of Corrections does not keep those records…Anti-Death Penalty advocate Mark Elliot says Wednesday nights problems indicate why (roll tape#4 oq.�like the one last night�)

Earlier this year, executions in Florida were halted while the U.S. Supreme looked into the case of Clarence Hill- and whether the use of lethal injection is cruel and unusual.
The Court rejected the argument, and Hill was executed.

But although Florida has gone about executing people, several other states have stopped. Again, death row attorney Marty McClain (roll tape#4 o.q.�in those 3 states’)

Governor Bush said today that last night’s problem does not warrant a moratorium on future executions. He told reporters, "All the people against the death penalty, whenever there's a chance, will call for suspending the death penalty. That would be like ready, fire, aim. It's better to actually determine what happened, if there was anything out of the ordinary that took place before you would call for that kind of delay."

Angel Diaz is the 4th person to be executed in Florida this year – the most in the state since there were 6 state sanctioned executions in 2000.

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