Sunday, June 15, 2008

Schwab can see execution records

Judge allows week for review


Judge Charles Holcomb granted convicted child-killer Mark Dean Schwab's request to see the state Department of Corrections records on mock executions, but also set a one-week deadline for filing future motions.

Schwab's attorneys argued successfully this week to have access to all records pertaining to training and new lethal injection protocol that was recently approved by the Florida and U.S. Supreme Courts.

"Presumably, the defendant will argue that this is a new standard, different from that adopted by the Florida Supreme Court and presumably will attempt to demonstrate that the Florida lethal injection protocol is not substantially similar to the Kentucky protocol approved by the United States Supreme Court," Holcomb wrote in his order.

"This is a new claim to show that the Florida protocol is so below acceptable standards that it violates the Eighth Amendment."

Holcomb said the mock execution records may indeed lead to relevant evidence in making comparisons between Florida and Kentucky.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the Kentucky lethal injection protocol was not a violation of the Eighth Amendment and did not constitute cruel or unusual punishment. Florida's methods -- revamped last year after a botched execution -- are similar.

Holcomb ordered the state to send the documents by overnight courier to Schwab's attorneys and gave them until 1 p.m. Friday to file any subsequent motions.

Schwab was convicted and sentenced to death in 1992 for the kidnapping, rape, torture and murder of 11-year-old Junny Rios-Martinez of Cocoa.

He is scheduled to die by lethal injection on July 1.

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