Death Penalty Study Group Meets in Tampa

WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday

  A Commission created to study Florida’s Death Penalty system met for the first time today in Tampa. The group was formed in the aftermath of the botched  execution of Angel Diaz . Today Florida State Prison Warden Randall Bryant told a panel reviewing Florida's lethalinjection procedures today that he doesn't think Diaz was in pain. 

But Diaz’s lawyer, Neal Dupree, told the commission his client was clearly in pain.

      The procedure took 34 minutes - twice as long as usual - andrequired a rare second dose of lethal chemicals because the needleswere inserted clear through his veins and into the flesh in hisarms. The chemicals are supposed to go into the veins.     The commission is charged with looking at whether improvementscan be made to the way lethal injections are administered. Mark Elliot is with Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.  He was present for today’s hearing (roll tape#1 o.q.”credibility”)            The committee is limited in their investigation to the administration of lethal injection – not whether it’s acceptable or constitutional – but simply to examine the protocol that creates the 3 drugs that are part of the cocktail that are used to execute prisoners.    After the diaz execution, then Governor Jeb Bush announced that there would be a moratorium on executions  in the state of Florida until a report by this commission was completed.  The final report is due to be sent to Governor Charlie Crist by March 1st.   Florida is one of 11 states now  investigating the use of lethal injection as a way to execute death row prisoners.   But there appears to be little apettite to do what former Illinois Governor George Ryan declared in Illinois years ago – that is, a moratorium on all executions in the state.  Ryan came to that conclusion after learning how many innocent prisoners were on death row.  Anti-death penalty advocate Mark Elliot says that Florida has a worse problem now than Illinois actually did then (roll tape2# o.q.”crossed our fingers and killed”) The next meeting for this Commissioner will be in Tampa again, on February 5th at 10 AM at the Tampa Airport Marriot.                Again, Mark Elliot with Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (roll tape#3 o.q. “in the answers”) The 3rd and final meeting to be held by this commission will also be in Tampa, at the airport Marriot on February 9th.        

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