The US Supreme Court has ruled that the drug midazolam is acceptable for use in lethal injections. 4 Oklahoma convicts had challenged the drugs use, and Florida courts stopped executions here pending the outcome. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the ruling is now likely to open the door to dozens of executions in Florida.
The High Court ruling is 127 pages long, but its essence can be found in the 1st sentence. “Because Capital punishment is constitutional, there must be a constitutional means of carrying it out” wrote the majority.
The ruling is a set back for anti death penalty advocates in Florida. Sheila Meenan represents Citizens Against the Death Penalty and while disappointed, remains hopeful.
“I do’t think there’s going to be an end to the death penalty anytime soon, but I do believe and am extremely hopeful, and it won’t be too long from now when the US Supreme Court is going to say that the death penalty is against the constitution” says Meehan.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote one of two blistering dissents.
“She really talked about how this drug, midazolam, could even be the equivalent of the chemical of burning at the stake. She used very strong language along those lines and as I say, 3 others concurred with her in that dissent” says Meehan.
Quadruple murderer Jerry Correll’s execution was stopped in February. It could soon be back on. Jerry Correll’s execution would set a record of 22 for one governor in modern times. A list prepared by the Florida Supreme court identified more than 100 inmates who have exhausted their appeals. Meehan says the decision opens the door to multiple warrants.
“Now that this decision is out, there is really nothing to stop Governor Scott from signing lots of death warrants. We’ve got lots of people, more than 400 people on Florida’s death row” says Meehan.
The Florida Department of Corrections did not respond to requests for an interview
This afternoon’s death row count was actually 396. And late this afternoon, Attorney General Pam Bondi asked the Florida Supreme Court to lift the Stay of Execution for Jerry Correll. Once lifted, the door is open for Governor Rick Scott to sign his and other death warrants.