Source Pravda.Ru

Death penalty procedure in Florida to be changed

A commission examining last year's botched lethal injection execution said it will recommend changes this week aimed at reducing errors in Florida's death row procedures.

However, panelists said conflicting information from execution witnesses, prison staff and medical experts made it impossible to make definitive findings on the Dec. 13 execution of convicted killer Angel Diaz, which took twice as long as normal and required a rare second dose of lethal chemicals.

"The finding we really couldn't make - that everyone wanted the answers to - was did this man suffer," said Circuit Judge Stan Morris, one of four panelists who met Sunday to draft the commission's final report.

Executions in Florida have been halted until Gov. Charlie Crist reviews the 11-member commission's findings, due on his desk Thursday.

The commission was not empowered to examine whether Florida's death penalty system should be scrapped, the AP reports.

The draft report faults the execution team for failing to follow protocol in the Diaz execution, but also says the prison protocol was inadequate from the start.

The report calls for someone to ensure that an inmate is unconscious before two extremely painful drugs are injected, increased training for execution teams, and creation of a clear protocol for the injection process.

The review was complicated by state laws that protect the identities of the execution team, legal and medical rules that blocked some panelists from fully participating in the debate and conflicting accounts of Diaz's execution from prison officials and media witnesses.

"I don't know if they were at the same execution," Morris said. "I couldn't resolve it."