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Midazolam Hydrochloride

Among the issues in the last-minute appeals of Juan Carlos Chavez was Florida's use of midazolam hydrochloride as the first drug of its three-drug protocol. CBS4's Gary Nelson has this eyewitness report of the execution.

"What  I saw tonight was a very sterile, very antiseptic, very unremarkable procedure as Juan Carlos Chavez drifted off to sleep, essentially forever as he was executed for the murder of Jimmy Ryce," said Nelson.
Why stick with the three-drug procedure instead of the single-drug?  With pentobarbital, if you can get it, there is no reason.  If you can't, though, the longer time to die and the noises that the unconscious inmate makes in the process may create the false impression he is suffering, as happened in the Ohio execution of Dennis McGuire (see this post), so the choice is not as clear-cut as we may have thought.

Florida does have a consciousness check between the first and second drugs, the safeguard the dissenting justices found lacking in the former Kentucky procedure at issue in Baze v. Rees.  According to Nelson's report, the warden shook Chavez and called his name, and there was no response.  He was out cold.

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