FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 7, 2022
Contact: Mark Elliott
(727) 215-9646 [email protected]
Darkness in the Sunshine State
TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Today the Florida Senate approved SB 1204/HB 873, the lethal injection secrecy bill, designed to shield black market purveyors of lethal injection drugs from accountability to both the drug manufacturers and the public. Drug manufacturers prohibit the use of their life-saving drugs for executions. Unfortunately, this legislation opens the door for secret payments to unapproved and even illegal sources for these chemicals.
Secrecy already exists for the executioner and personnel involved in performing an execution. Under current protocol, executions take place behind sound-proof glass walls. The Warden controls the microphone and curtains close at the first sign of a problem.
“Every Floridian who believes in transparency, open government, and accountability should be outraged,” said Mark Elliott, Executive Director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
Elliott continues, “Florida is one of just 12 states that still actively use the death penalty. And it’s on its way out in Florida. Stopping this bill would have sped up the inevitable demise of the death penalty in our state.”
If an execution goes wrong, horribly wrong, as they famously have in our state (i.e., Angel Diaz, 2006), there could be no accountability or transparency as to what happened and why. Florida uses a three-drug cocktail. The first is an anesthetic. The second drug is a paralytic that completely stops and conceals all movement, including visual evidence of pain and suffering. The third drug short circuits or burns the internal organs causing a heart attack. If the anesthetic wears off, the execution victim could be fully conscious and aware but unable to move. There would be no screams, convulsions, or even tears as they are suffocated and then, with the third drug, chemically burned alive from the inside out.
The Florida Governor’s Commission on the Administration of Lethal Injection, impaneled after the botched 2006 lethal injection of Angel Diaz, heard testimony and many concurred that the only reason for using the paralytic drug is to make an execution more palatable for those carrying out the execution, the media, and the witnesses by masking any signs of pain and suffering.
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP) is a state-wide grassroots organization working to end to the death penalty in Florida. Our network includes more than 60 state and local groups and thousands of individual Floridians, including murder victims’ family members and other survivors of violent crime, law enforcement professionals, families of the incarcerated, and death row exonorees.