Breaking News: Florida Supreme Court Tells Trial Court to Decide Whether Use of Midazolam is Unconstitutional in Scheduled Execution of Robert Henry
by Save Robert Henry
For Immediate Release Mach 7, 2014
For more information Contact the Save Robert Henry Campaign:
Phone: (561) 325-9317
Florida Supreme Court Tells Trial Court to Decide Whether Use of Midazolam is Unconstitutional in Scheduled Execution of Robert Henry
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – The Florida Supreme Court has ordered trial court Judge Andrew Siegel to decide whether or not the use of Midazolam in Robert Henry’s execution, scheduled for March 20, is constitutional. Robert’s defense team is trying to stop the execution, denouncing it as unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. At the trial court, Robert’s lawyers provided a sworn statement from several expert doctors that detailed Robert’s medical particularities – he has hypertension, high cholesterol, and coronary artery disease. The trial court, however, would not let the experts testify at a hearing or present other evidence. Robert’s lawyers appealed to the Florida Supreme Court, and they agree: the trial judge must listen to the experts and decide whether or not the use of Midazolam, as applied to Robert, violates the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Judge Siegel will hear testimony from doctors on both sides of the issue on Monday, March 10 at 8:30AM, in the Fort Lauderdale Courthouse, 201 SE 6th St., Courtroom 7870.
Robert’s medical ailments are important: while the Florida Supreme Court has previously allowed executions to proceed using the experimental drug Midazolam, the Florida Supreme Court has never decided whether the use of the drug on a person with specific medical issues is problematic. Robert’s medical expert, Dr. Joel Zivot, stated that the high dosage of Midazolam will very likely result in an “acute coronary event,” or, a heart attack, characterized by “extremely severe chest pain and shortness of breath.”
The suppliers of Midazolam have asked the Florida Department of Corrections to STOP its use of this drug for executions, noting the drug is not intended for that purpose.
A group of South Florida lawyers also called on Governor Scott to stop Robert’s execution. Citing to inhumane and unconstitutional procedures, PBACDL, the Palm Beach Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, denounced Florida’s current lethal injection process as cruel and unusual punishment.
Robert was sentenced to death in Broward County for the 1988 deaths of Janet Cox Thermidor and Phyllis Harris. Since Robert has been on death row, he has served as a counselor and mentor to those struggling with addiction issues. Mr. Henry knows well the horrific toll of untreated addiction – his crack-cocaine addiction led to his condemnation to death, and the death of Ms. Harris and Ms. Thermidor.
The campaign launched its efforts to stop Robert’s execution on February 24, 2014. Since that date, over 1,700 people have signed the online petition calling on Governor Scott to stop the execution.
Tell Governor Scott to STOP the execution of Robert Henry! NO CRUEL COCKTAIL in my name! Sign the petition bit.ly/RobertHenry or contact the Governor’s office: 850-488-7146, email: Rick.Scott@eog.myflorida.com
For more information on Robert’s case, follow his Twitter campaign @SaveRobertHenry, visit him on the web at: http://www.nocruelcocktail.wordpress.com or contact the campaign at NoCruelCocktail@gmail.com or (561) 325-9317.