Execution Cocktail Arguments Continue
Lawyers for Death Row inmate Jerry Correll on Monday backed a decision by the Florida Supreme Court to send his case back to a circuit judge, after Attorney General Pam Bondi's office asked justices to reconsider the decision.
Justices, in a 5-2 ruling last week, refused to lift a stay of Correll's execution and sent the case to a Central Florida circuit court for further consideration. Bondi's office responded Friday by asking for a rehearing in the state Supreme Court.
The attorney general's office contended that justices were ignoring a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the use of the sedative midazolam, which is part of a three-drug cocktail used to execute prisoners in Florida and other states.
Correll received a stay of execution in February while the U.S. Supreme Court took up an Oklahoma case about whether the use of midazolam violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
In last week's decision, Florida justices ordered the circuit court to hold an evidentiary hearing on Correll's assertion that the drug poses a heightened risk to him because of his alleged brain damage and history of drug use.
"This court after careful consideration has permitted this limited relinquishment period (to the circuit court) and has not overlooked its constitutional obligations,'' Correll's attorneys wrote Monday in a document filed in the Supreme Court.
"The state's inaccurate and overbroad interpretation of (the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Oklahoma case) notwithstanding, this court's relinquishment for an evidentiary hearing is entirely consistent with the state and federal Constitution and within this court's authority and should not be disturbed."
Correll was convicted in the 1985 stabbing deaths of his ex-wife and their 5-year-old daughter, as well as his ex-mother-in-law and her sister. The murders happened in Orlando.