The Florida Supreme Court, by a 5 to 2 vote, stayed the execution of Jerry Correll, a death-row inmate who killed four people in Orlando in 1985, reports the Orlando Sentinel. His attorneys filed an emergency petition seeking a delay of the Feb. 26 execution until the U.S. Supreme Court rules in an Oklahoma case. The high court is considering the constitutionality of a sedative that is the first drug administered during a three-step process used to execute inmates in Oklahoma, Florida and other states.
Critics argue that the drug, Midazolam, does not effectively sedate inmates during the execution process and subjects them to pain that violates the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Attorney General Eric Holder called yesterday, for a national moratorium on the death penalty until the Supreme Court decision, The Hill reported. “Our system of justice is the best in the world. It is comprised of men and women who do the best they can, get it right more often than not, substantially more right than wrong. But there’s always the possibility that mistakes will be made,” he said.