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Midazolam Hydrochloride

From the Sunshine State comes the latest candidate for a lethal injection drug. Steve Bousquet reports in the Tampa Bay Times that Florida is switching to this drug for the first drug in its three-drug method, now that it is no longer able to obtain pentobarbital.

The new drug is midazolam hydrochloride, a sedative that legal experts say has no track record of effectiveness on death row because it has never been used in an execution in the United States.
Well, of course not.  Any new drug, by definition, will have no track record in executions.  And who is the legal expert?  You guessed it -- Richard Dieter, an advocate for the anti-death-penalty side, not identified as such in the story.

But we don't need a track record in executions.  We know from experience in surgical use what dose is sufficient to put someone "under" so he doesn't feel pain, and that is all that is necessary.

For medical use, safety and effectiveness of a drug is demonstrated in trials with volunteers.  There aren't a lot of volunteers for executions, but Florida apparently has one.

The new drug cocktail will be used for the first time Oct. 15 in the execution of William Happ, who was convicted of the rape and strangulation of Angela Crowley of Fort Lauderdale. She was abducted from a pay phone outside a Crystal River convenience store in 1986 and her battered body was later found in the Cross-Florida Barge Canal.

She was 21 years old.

Happ, 51, told a judge in a 20-minute court hearing on Sept. 13 that he's ready to be executed and asked that no legal actions be taken to delay it.

"I've thought about this for many years," Happ said to Circuit Judge Richard Howard of Inverness. "I would prefer to have it carried out."

Happ's attorney, Eric Pinkard of St. Petersburg, declined to comment, saying the change in lethal injection procedures "is potentially subject to legal proceedings."

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