Florida Court Considers "Shake and Shout" Execution Procedure

As the Supreme Court considers whether lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment, Florida, whose procedures have also come under state challenge (background here, here and here) has also been holding hearings.

Florida's leading death penalty case, Lightbourne, didn't focus on the lethal cocktail he'll likely be shot up with but the records and abilities of the lethal-injectors themselves -- an issue that came to the fore with the Department of Corrections' botched execution of Miami killer Angel Diaz, who took 34 minutes to die on Dec. 13.

Florida's Department of Corrections made some changes after the Diaz execution. Check out the "Shake and Shout" procedure the states' attorney is defending:


The first part of the procedure is the same: The injector, called a ''sticker'' by Justice Charlie T. Wells, puts the needles in, and the executioner then plunges the first drug, sodium pentothal, into the body of the condemned to knock him out.

Now, however, the executioner must pause as a warden then approaches the condemned, brushes his eyelids for a reaction, jostles him and yells his name -- a period called the ``shake and shout.''

If the condemned is determined to be knocked out, the paralytic drug pancuronium bromide is shot into him, followed by potassium chloride to stop his heart.

One justice expressed this concern:

'My only concern, and I don't know if it's a constitutional concern . . . is the process of assessing consciousness has not been formalized in any document,'' said Justice Barbara Pariente. ``How do we ensure that that process is going to be competently performed?''

The State's attorney responded:

Kenneth S. Nunnelley, said the warden is trained in CPR and that the ''shake and shout'' is a basic test that can competently ``be performed by a layperson.''
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    i know this isn't relevant, (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by cpinva on Fri Oct 12, 2007 at 02:57:11 AM EST
    but don't these people find discussing this issue just a tad creepy?

    How barbaric. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Lora on Fri Oct 12, 2007 at 07:58:37 AM EST
    Pretense of justice - 1.
    Civilization - 0.

    Next, they'll get the guy from the Verizon (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by scribe on Fri Oct 12, 2007 at 08:47:37 AM EST
    commercial:  "Can you hear me now?"

    And, what if the condemnee responds?

    It looks to me like the State's position is:  any idiot can do killing, but the one thing we must continue to do, is kill.


    No Progress (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by squeaky on Fri Oct 12, 2007 at 09:06:25 AM EST
    in the human spirit since the midde ages. At least in the US. We are a hair above savages, which makes us barbarians.

    Shake and shout? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jen M on Fri Oct 12, 2007 at 01:04:54 PM EST
    next they'll do a toe pinch