Saturday, August 4, 2007

More execution changes on tap

August 4, 2007


Florida will train execution teams better and require some members to be medical professionals such as doctors or paramedics to try to avoid repeats of a botched December execution, according to documents made public Friday.

The changes are the second since it took 34 minutes -- twice as long as normal -- for a lethal injection to kill convicted killer Angel Diaz, 55. An autopsy showed needles had been pushed through his veins into the flesh of his arms.

The first round of changes included better training and communication, a clear chain of command and additional staffing.

But a judge questioned whether those revisions went far enough.

Circuit Judge Carven D. Angel, who is hearing a challenge to Florida's lethal-injection procedures on behalf of death-row inmate Ian Lightbourne, last month suspended hearings until the state again updated its procedures.

The latest modifications include additional criteria for the selection of executioners and execution teams and more training in how to deal with the kind of situation that prolonged Diaz's death. Also, certain members of the execution team must be state-certified medical professionals.

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