Supreme Court of Florida
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2006
CASE NO.: SC06-2023
ARTHUR DENNIS RUTHERFORD vs. CHARLES J. CRIST, JR.,
ETC., ET AL
Arthur Rutherford, who is under a pending death warrant, has filed a Petition
Seeking to Invoke this Court's All Writs Jurisdiction and a Motion for Stay of
Execution, which is scheduled for October 18, 2006. Rutherford's petition concerns
the Department of Corrections' denial of a public records request for current lethal
injection procedures, followed by the circuit court's denial of a motion to compel
production. The State has filed a response to which it has attached the Department's
procedures governing execution by lethal injection, effective August 16, 2006. We
permitted Rutherford to file a reply.
We deny relief. Our review of the current lethal injection procedures, attached
to the State's response, reveals nothing that would cause this Court to revisit our
previous conclusions "that procedures for administering the lethal injection as attested
do not violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment."
Rutherford v. State, 926 So. 2d 1100, 1113 (Fla. 2006) (quoting Hill v. State, 921 So.
2d 579, 583 (Fla. 2006), and Sims v. State, 753 So. 2d 657, 668 (Fla. 2000)).
CASE NO. SC6-2023
Accordingly, Rutherford's petition and motion for a stay of execution are
hereby denied. No motion for rehearing will be allowed.
It is so ordered.
LEWIS, C.J., and WELLS, PARIENTE, QUINCE and CANTERO, JJ., concur.
ANSTEAD, J., concurs specially with an opinion.
BELL, J., recused.
A True Copy
CAROLYN M. SNURKOWSKI
MARTIN J. MCCLAIN
HON. JOHN ELLIS "JEB" BUSH, GOVERNOR
ROSA H. CARSON
CHARMAINE M. MILLSAPS
CASE NO. SC06-2023
ANSTEAD, J., concurring specially.
I concur in the majority's denial of relief because I, too, am bound by the
rulings of this Court rejecting similar challenges to the State's procedures for execution
by lethal injection in Hill and Rutherford as cited by the majority.
I am troubled,
however, by the fact that the State has not at all times made its execution procedures
and protocols a matter of public record, and by the fact that since our initial decision
in Sims approving the use of lethal injection based substantially on theory, there has
been no public evidentiary hearing focused on the purpose and effectiveness of the
State's procedures, and on what actually takes place during the course of an execution
by lethal injection.
Now that this method of execution has been in place for a number
of years we would all benefit by such a hearing.