Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Court Stays Jones Execution

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Court Stays Jones Execution

Article excerpt

The Florida Supreme Court issued an indefinite stay yesterday in

the execution of Death Row inmate Leo Jones, who lost his bid to

have the state's electric chair declared unconstitutional.

The stay followed a ruling by Circuit Judge A.C. Soud of Duval

County hours earlier that Florida's electric chair is not cruel

or unusual punishment, despite arguments from Jones' attorneys

citing the recent fiery electrocution of Pedro Medina.

The state Supreme Court, which reviews all death penalty cases,

will review Jones' case in oral arguments set for May 6.

Before the stay was lifted, Gov. Lawton Chiles had tentatively

set Jones' execution for May 6. If the state's highest court

lifts the stay after hearing oral arguments, the governor will

set a new date for execution.

Defense attorney Martin McClain said the stay will allow him

time to bring to Florida three out-of-state pathologists who are

experts on electrocution and electricity on the brain.

"Judge Soud did not allow me to present my evidence from

experts that would have indicated that Medina in fact did suffer

pain at the time of his execution," McClain said.

"After reviewing their affidavits, he [Soud] concluded that

they didn't have anything relevant to say and he would not wait

for them to arrive," McClain said. "Based upon their knowledge

and what they've seen and heard about [Medina], it's their

opinion that Mr. Medina's brain was functioning after the

electrocution was turned off."

Jones' attorneys were citing the Medina case during the

four-day hearing in an effort to halt Jones' scheduled

electrocution.

Attorneys from Capital Collateral Representatives, the state

agency that represents Death Row inmates, and the Florida

Attorney General's Office questioned witnesses about the Medina

execution during the hearing. …

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