Clarence Hill, who was once minutes from execution before the U.S. Supreme Court intervened, has been put to death by lethal injection.
Hill’s execution comes amid calls by opponents, to halt all executions in Florida until the system is reformed.
The U.S. Supreme Court granted Hill a stay last winter based on his argument that lethal injection can cause pain and therefore violates the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Mike McCarron with the Florida Catholic Conference says it’s just one of many reasons the state should take a good hard look at its death penalty system. "It seems to me that if it was a good idea to stop that execution last time, that until that issue is resolved, we ought not to go forth with any executions," he said.
Just this week, the American Bar Association released a strongly-worded report suggesting Florida’s death penalty system is also racially biased, and more death row inmates there have later been cleared of their crimes and released than in any other state.
Even some who agree with the death penalty believe Florida’s system does need some reforms, but they say that’s no reason to get rid of the ultimate punishment.
Former Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association President, Willie Meggs doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for the argument that lethal injection is cruel and unusual. "Well, it ought to be, you know, these people who complain that it hurts, it ought to hurt. They hurt other people," he says.
Still, at least six other states including California have put a hold on executions pending reviews of lethal injection concerns.
Hill was sentenced to death for the 1982 murder of a police officer in Pensacola.