Thursday, July 19, 2007

Florida ends moratorium on capital punishment

Florida ends moratorium on capital punishment

Miami - Florida's Governor Charlie Crist signed a death warrant on Tuesday, ending a moratorium on capital punishment the state adopted seven months ago after a botched execution by lethal injection.

The warrant directs prison authorities to carry out the execution of Mark Dean Schwab, who was sentenced to death in 1992 for the kidnapping, rape and murder of an 11-year-old boy.

Schwab is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in November.

The death warrant is the first issued in the state of Florida since the botched execution of Angel Nieves Diaz in December.

The convicted murderer had to be given two lethal doses after a needle missed his vein and pierced tissue instead. His execution took 34 minutes.

The incident rekindled debate on whether lethal injections constitute cruel and unusual punishment, and prompted then state governor Jeb Bush - a brother of the US president - to suspend executions in Florida pending the outcome of a review of the procedure by a special commission.

Crist expressed confidence that "the training, organisation and communication processes" recommended by the commission and adopted by Florida are consistent with the US constitution's eighth amendment, which prohibits "cruel and unusual punishments".

Published on the Web by IOL on 2007-07-19 05:41:00

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