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Florida governor lifts temporary ban on executions

[JURIST] A warrant signed Wednesday by Florida Governor Charlie Crist [official profile] ended the state's temporary suspension on executions. The ban was instituted last December by then-Governor Jeb Bush after the botched execution of Angel Diaz [JURIST report, AI profile], who endured a 34-minute-long lethal injection that required a second injection after needles were improperly inserted into his arm. Mark Dean Schwab, convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping, and sexual battery of a child [Florida Supreme Court opinion, PDF], is scheduled to be executed November 15. The move came as a surprise to the Florida legal community, where it was widely believed that the temporary suspension would continue until the resolution of Lightbourne v. State of Florida [docket], a lethal injection challenge arising out of the Diaz execution. That case is scheduled for oral arguments before the Florida Supreme Court in October.

After Diaz's December 2006 execution, Bush appointed a commission to investigate Florida's lethal injection procedures [PDF text]. The panel recommended [JURIST report] more oversight to ensure proper sedation before execution, a switch to "less problematic" alternative chemicals with a smaller potential to fail, and execution monitoring via closed circuit cameras. Crist said Wednesday that he was confident Florida's procedures do not violate Eighth Amendment [text] cruel and unusual punishment standards. AP has more.

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