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Florida death penalty critics seek stay of executions on constitutional grounds

[JURIST] One day after Florida death row inmate Angel Diaz [Amnesty International profile] endured a 34-minute-long - and apparently painful - execution, death penalty [JURIST news archive] critics filed papers with the Florida Supreme Court [official website] seeking to once again halt the death penalty in the state. Petitioners, including numerous people currently on Florida’s death row roster [text], filed an emergency petition [text, PDF] Thursday with the court asking it to exercise its All Writs jurisdiction and declare that Florida’s lethal injections procedures [text, PDF] violate the Eighth Amendment [text] of the US Constitution.

Angel Diaz was executed Wednesday for the 1979 murder of a Miami strip club manager. Officials had to administer the sodium pentothal, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride cocktail twice, during which time witnesses claim he grimaced, contorted, and gasped for breath. Officials claim that Diaz had a liver condition that slowed the absorption of the drugs, but that he was unconscious and experienced no pain. The US Supreme Court reviewed Florida’s lethal injection procedure earlier this year when they stayed [JURIST report] the execution of Clarence Hill, who was ultimately executed [JURIST report] in September. Reuters has more. The St. Petersburg Times has local coverage.

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