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Florida Supreme Court upholds state lethal injection procedure

[JURIST] The Florida Supreme Court [official website] issued a unanimous decision [PDF text] Thursday upholding the state's lethal injection procedures and rejecting the assertion that the state's protocol constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment." The US Supreme Court currently has on its docket a case challenging lethal injection as unconstitutional, and earlier this week the Court granted a stay of execution [order, PDF; JURIST report] to a convicted murderer on Mississippi's death row. Some analysts have suggested that the Mississippi stay, which marks the third reprieve granted by the Court since September 25, signals a de facto nationwide moratorium [CSM news report] on lethal injections until the Supreme Court reaches a decision in the lethal injection case - Baze v. Rees. The Florida Attorney General [official website], however, said Thursday that the execution of Mark Dean Schwab [FCCD profile, DOC], the death row inmate who lost in Thursday's Florida decision, would remain scheduled for November 15.

Several constitutional challenges to lethal injection [JURIST news archive] have arisen across the country in recent months, mainly focusing on an argument that the first drug administered in a three-drug mixture [DPIC backgrounder] fails to make the inmate fully unconscious, thereby making the inmate feel excruciating pain when a heart-stopping drug is injected. Florida Governor Jeb Bush suspended all executions in the state [JURIST report] last December after a medical examiner said that the execution earlier that month of Angel Diaz [Amnesty profile] was botched. Diaz endured a 34-minute-long execution as a result of the improper insertion of needles during the first injection. The ban was lifted [JURIST report] in July. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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