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- 2011 - July - 26th -

Supreme Court delays execution

from The News Service of Florida

A divided Florida Supreme Court on Monday delayed a prisoner’s execution that had been set for early August and ordered a hearing into a new state protocol for carrying out lethal injections that changed one of the drugs used.

Manuel Valle had been scheduled to die by lethal injection on Aug. 2 for the 1978 murder of Coral Gables police officer Luis Pena.

In a 4-3 decision, the state’s high court on ordered a stay of the execution until Sept. 1, and in the meantime ordered the hearing on the new procedure for putting prisoners to death.

The Department of Corrections in June changed the protocol for lethal injections, replacing one of the three drugs used, sodium thiopental, with another drug, pentobarbital sodium.

Valle, 61, has asked the courts to block his execution, questioning, among other things, the effectiveness of pentobarbital as an anesthetic to induce unconsciousness in humans.

Florida, like many other states, switched to pentobarbital after the company that made sodium thiopental stopped making it, leaving states scrambling to rework their execution protocols.

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