Supreme Court rejects latest Valle lethal injection appealby Dara Kam | September 27th, 2011
The Florida Supreme Court rejected yet another appeal by Manuel Valle, slated to be executed tomorrow at 4 p.m.
Tuesday’s ruling is the third appeal by Valle’s lawyers rejected by courts this summer. His execution by lethal injection has twice been put on hold, first by the Florida Supreme Court and later by federal judges in Atlanta.
Valle’s lawyers have questioned the state’s use of a new drug in the lethal injection “cocktail.” The Department of Corrections has substituted the compound sodium pentobarbital for the first of the three-drug lethal injection protocol, a change forced by a manufacturer’s discontinuing of the drug formerly used.
British neurologist David Nicholl, who has ties to pentobarbital’s manufacturer Lundbeck Inc., filed the latest appeal with the state’s highest court, arguing that the use of the drug – also known as Nembutal – for executions violates the federal Controlled Substances Act which prohibits its dispensation except for legitimate medical purposes. The Court disagreed.
Since his conviction for the 1978 killing of Coral Gables police officer Louis Pena, Valle has been sentenced to death and re-sentenced three times in legal wrangling that eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned his death penalty in 1987. Courts later reaffirmed his death penalty conviction.
Valle has another appeal pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. His is the first – and only – death warrant signed by Gov. Rick Scott since he assumed office in January.