William Happ Executed for 1986 Murder, Issues Apology to Victim's Family
Critics of the decision to use midazolam have said they're afraid that Florida is using what's most available, rather than what's the best practice. Midazolam had never been used before in an execution. It's also illegal in Florida to use the drug for euthanizing dogs and cats.
Florida and other states have struggled to maintain stockpiles of pentobarbital because drug manufacturers refuse to sell it to those who will use it for executions.
Departments of Corrections across the US have been unable to acquire the drug in part due to an active campaign by the British watchdog named Reprieve to expose the suppliers of the executions drugs through public records requests.
Reprieve's strategy to reveal which companies provide the drug to prisons have prompted some states--including Florida--to declare that information confidential.
"The Department will not discuss any specifics about our lethal injection protocol as to ensure the safety and security of the process and all involved is not compromised," wrote Jessica Cary, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections, in an email. "This information is confidential and exempt from public record."
The state Department of Corrections made the decision to change the drug in September because the agency’s supply of pentobarbital was set to expire at the end of November.
The legality of using midazolam for executions will be discussed during a Nov. 6 court hearing in Jacksonville.
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