'Experimenting' on a Death Row Inmate: Florida to Execute Man by Untested Drug
Fifty-one-year-old inmate William Happ is slated for execution in Florida on Tuesday using an experimental cocktail of drugs, despite widespread concerns that the injection could subject him to severe pain and thus ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ under the 8th ammendment.
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Critics are slamming the planned execution as just the latest inhumane development in a state with staggering incarceration and execution rates. “Florida leads the nation in the number of people who have been released from death row because of mistakes,” Diann Rust-Tierney, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, told Common Dreams. “This is yet another example of how out of step Florida is with the rest of the country.”
The execution will be the first ever using midazolam hydrochloride, a drug typically used for sedation purposes. The first of three drugs to be injected, midazolam will replace the typically used barbiturate pentobarbital, which, according to Reuters, is aimed at inducing unconsciousness.
Several states that carry out executions have been running low on pentobarbital after its manufacturer banned its use for executions.
“This is somewhat of an experiment on a living human being,” Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, told Reuters on Monday.
“The three-drug process depends on the first drug rendering the inmate unconscious and, if he is only partially unconscious, the inmate could be experiencing extreme pain,” Dieter stated. “Because the second drug paralyzes him, he would be unable to cry out or show that he’s in pain.”
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