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FL To Keep Execution Cocktail

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
California Department of Corrections
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The botched execution of an Oklahoma prison inmate isn’t changing Florida’s plan to continue using a three-drug cocktail for its Death Row inmates.

Florida's lethal injection procedure is nearly identical to Oklahoma's. But a Florida Department of Corrections official says it uses a higher quantity of  the initial drug used in the drawn-out April 29 execution of Oklahoma death row inmate Clayton Lockett, the News Service of Florida reports.

That drug, midazolam hydrochloride, is designed to render inmates unconscious, but it failed to do so in the Oklahoma case. Lockett died of a heart attack 43 minutes after the execution began.

A non-partisan group of legal experts on Wednesday recommended that Florida and the seven other states using this method switch to a single-drug injection for executions, thus minimizing pain and suffering, the Associated Press reports.

"The cause of the problems in Oklahoma isn't known at this point, but regardless, a one-drug protocol would be a substantial improvement over the two- or three-drug" mixture, said Sarah Turberville, senior counsel at the Constitution Project, a Washington-based group that promotes bipartisan consensus on the death penalty, wrongful executions and the importance of independent courts.

Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Gerald Kogan serves as co-chair of the committee, the News Service reports.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.