Thursday, July 28, 2011
Florida Lethal Injection Hearing to Proceed
"Miami judge to hear testimony in lethal injection drug challenge," is the title of Patricia Mazzei's Miami Herald report. The updated report is via the Sun-Sentinel.
A Miami judge will hear arguments Thursday morning for and against the new use of an anesthetic drug in Florida's lethal injections.And:
The hearing stems from the case of Manuel Valle, sentenced to death for shooting and killing a Coral Gables police officer in 1978. Valle's execution, initially scheduled for Aug. 2, was temporarily stayed on Monday until Sept. 1, pending a hearing on the safety and efficacy of the drug, pentobarbital.
The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. before Circuit Court Judge Jacqueline Hogan Scola. Valle's lawyers had tried to get a different judge, arguing that Hogan Scola has already found some of Valle's likely witnesses not to be credible, but the Florida Supreme Court rejected the attempt to disqualify the judge.
A divided Supreme Court ruled 4-3 to grant him a hearing — and ordered the corrections department to provide documents from the drug's manufacturer, Lundbeck, on the safety and efficacy of pentobarbital.The News Service of Florida files, "Hearing on cop killer's execution can go forward." It's via the Fort Myers News-Press.
The head of Lundbeck, a Danish company, has twice written Gov. Rick Scott urging him not to use the drug for capital punishment. Staffan Schüberg, president of Lundbeck, wrote to Scott in May and again in June after he said his letters to the corrections department went unanswered. It is unclear if Scott's office has responded, either.
"The use of pentobarbital outside the approved labeling has not been established," Schüberg wrote. "As such, Lundbeck cannot assure the associated safety and efficacy profiles in such instances. For this reason, we are concerned about its use in prison executions."
The Florida Supreme Court rejected a request by lawyers for a death row inmate to change the judge in a hearing over the state's lethal injection drug.And:
The drug was changed in June, and the Valle execution is set to be the first in Florida in which it is used.At the Palm Beach Post, Dara Kam posts, "Danish manufacturer of lethal injection drug twice asked Scott not to use it to kill prisoners."
The question is over the efficacy of the first of the three drugs used, pentobarbital, which is used to make the prisoner unconscious before the other two drugs paralyze and kill him.
The Danish manufacturer of the controversial drug now being used to execute prisoners pleaded with Gov. Rick Scott twice to abandon its use, saying it “contradicts everything we are in business to do.”And:
Staffan Schüberg, president of Lundbeck Inc., wrote to Scott twice before the first-term governor signed his first death warrant ordering Manuel Valle to be executed on Aug. 2.
“We are adamantly opposed to the use of Nembutal to execute prisoners because it contradicts everything we are in business to do – provide therapies that improve people’s lives,” Schüberg wrote to Scott on May 16.
DOC issued a new protocol with the replacement drug pentobarbital sodium, also known as Nembutal, on June 8.Earlier coverage of the Florida lethal injection challenge begins at the link. Related posts are in the lethal injection index.
That same day, Schüberg wrote another letter to Scott, again asking him not to use the drug.
“The use of pentobarbital outside of the approved labeling has not been established. As such, Lundbeck cannot assure the associated safety and efficacy profiles in such instances. For this reason, we are concerned about its use in prison executions,” he wrote.
In his first letter, Schüberg said he had written to DOC officials urging them not to use the drug but had not received a response.