Following a botched execution of a death row inmate in Oklahoma earlier this year, some states have placed moratoriums on the death penalty. However, some states, including Florida, have returned to the death penalty.
Three Executions in 24 Hours
There were three executions in 24 hours during the week of June 16, 2014. Georgia, Missouri, and Florida each executed a death row inmate in succession. The executions in Georgia and Missouri were the first since the botched execution in Oklahoma on April 29, 2014, which went awry leading to the convict to die painfully from a heart attack rather than peacefully in his sleep, as the drugs in a lethal injection are intended to do.
Each of the three states used lethal injections, but there appeared to have been no error in their use. Florida has executed six inmates in 2014, second only to Texas. In the U.S. as a whole, there have been 23 executions.
A Regional Divide in the Application of the Death Penalty
While 32 states still permit the death penalty, only a handful of them routinely execute prisoners. Most of those states are in the South. States in the North and West have either declared moratoriums on the use of the death penalty or have effectively declared “de facto” moratoriums in that the governments in those states simply have not used the death penalty recently and appear reluctant to do so any time in the foreseeable future. For instance, Pennsylvania has not executed anyone since 1999 and Utah has had only one since 2000.
In some Southern states, there is arguably political will in the legislature and a willingness in the judiciary to allow the death penalty to be applied despite recent criticisms that it may either violate the Bill of Rights as “cruel and unusual punishment” if it is unduly painful, such as in the case of the Oklahoma man who died painfully when the lethal injection did not work properly, or that it simply is not an effective deterrent for future crime.
Florida Man Convicted of Double Murder in 1985
John Ruthell Henry was the Florida man who was put to death on June 18. He was convicted of the December 1985 murder of his estranged wife and her five-year-old son from another relationship. In addition to the controversy surrounding the safety and efficacy of the drugs used by the states for lethal injections, there was question as to Mr. Henry’s mental abilities. He has received a score of 78 on an I.Q. test, which is above the standard of 70 that Florida has been using for years to determine a defendant’s mental aptitude for standing for trial and sentencing. However, the U.S. Supreme Court recently found that Florida’s hard and fast rule of relying on the 70 I.Q. benchmark was too rigid and that scores near 70 along with other factors should be considered in determining mental aptitude. While his score of a 78 was close, it was determined that it was sufficiently high enough and that it was very unlikely that his score would vary so much as to drop near or below 70.
Contact Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Should you find yourself facing criminal charges in Miami, you will need experienced attorneys to represent you in court. Contact Anderson O’Sullivan & Associates for legal advice now.