State Supreme Court upholds lethal injection procedures

Published: Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 1:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 1:38 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Florida's procedure for carrying out execution by lethal injection doesn't conflict with the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday.

The ruling may clear the way for the execution scheduled this month of Mark Dean Schwab, one of two inmates who have challenged the way Florida administers lethal injections to condemned prisoners.

The issue is also under review, however, by the U.S. Supreme Court, which is considering a similar issue in a case from Kentucky. That court has allowed only one execution to be carried out since it agreed to hear the Kentucky case.

Schwab, 38, is scheduled to die Nov. 15 for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Junny Rios-Martinez, of Cocoa.

The court ruled in Schwab's case, and in another case brought by another condemned man, Ian Deco Lightbourne, that Florida's procedure doesn't violate the Constitution, particularly since extra safeguards were put in place after problems in another execution. In that procedure, it took 34 minutes twice as long as usual for convicted killer Angel Diaz to die.

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