Mike Thomas of the Orlando Sentinel wrote an editorial earlier this month that gives a good overview on where the State of Florida is (and was) in its methods of executing inmates on Death Row. In "The death penalty: A dead end in Florida," Thomas discusses the various methods that the state has used to kill those deemed worthy of capital punishment and the conundrum that Governor Rick Scott faces now, what with all this controversy over using pentobarbital as part of the lethal injection three drug cocktail.
Pentobarbital – The Drug Used by Vets to Put Down Pets
As we’ve discussed here earlier, the use of pentobarbital in killing living things isn’t new; vets use this drug to euthanize beloved pets. They’ve done this for years. The question is whether or not it should be used on humans – especially. as Thomas points out, when a recent pentobarbital execution had the inmate in obvious distress. (For details on that distress, read about the anesthesiologist’s opinion on suffering in Roy Blankenship’s execution.)
Status of Pentobarbital in Florida Executions Now
Earlier this month, Florida CIrcuit Court Judge Jacqueline Hogan Scola found that the usage of the drug pentobarbital in a Florida execution "… does not create an objectively reasonable risk of suffering." Her determination may lead the way for prosecutors to move forward with another Florida execution (of convicted murderer Manuel Valle, 61).
However, the manufacturer of the drug, a company in Denmark named Lundbeck, is not happy that its product is being used by Americans for executions. This month, Lundbeck issued a news release that pentobarbital is untested and unsafe for use on human beings in lethal injections, and Lundbeck has stop selling pentobarbital to anyone buying it for resell as a lethal injection component.
Which leaves the Florida executioner in a difficult spot, as Thomas’ editorial points out so well.