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Trial Court Ruling in Florida Lethal Injection Case

Two weeks ago, I noted that the Florida Supreme Court had sent the case on the new lethal injection protocol to a trial court for an evidentiary hearing.  The trial court ruled on November 25, and the ruling is now available here.

Regarding the testimony of the defendant's expert, the court notes, "Dr. Heath's opinion on the matter was not that midazolam was ineffective as an anesthetic, but that it should be the only drug during the execution."  There is nothing but speculation that William Happ, the only inmate previously executed with this protocol, was insufficiently anesthetized, and the fact that his head moved does not mean he was conscious.

There is not much left for the Florida Supreme Court, or any federal court, to decide.  On the inmate's own expert's testimony, he has no claim that is even in the ballpark of meeting the Baze standard.


I'm not persuaded that the only people entitled to a painless demise are convicted murderers. Most deaths involve pain. Heart attacks are painful. Cancer is painful. Car accidents are painful. I don't think the state should deliberately inflict pain, and I think the state has a duty to cause death in such a way that the risk of pain is minimized, but the cold stark reality is that death and pain go hand in hand.

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