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Allen Lee Davis
[Ed's Note: On Jan. 14, 2000, following the barrage of controversy created by the execution photos posted by Justice Shaw, Florida barred any further executions by electrocution, opting for lethal injection. On Dec. 16, 2006, then Gov. Jeb Bush suspended all executions in Florida after it took two doses and 34 minutes for Angel Diaz to die by lethal injection.]
by J.J. Maloney
The execution of Allen Lee Davis in the Florida electric chair on July 8, 1999, was so violent that it set off a shock wave that rippled around the world. When the Florida Supreme Court ruled, yet again, that execution by electrocution is not unconstitutional, a dissenting justice attached three photographs of the execution to his dissent and posted them on the Florida Supreme Court web site.
The photographs drew attention from all over the world, with many foreign visitors expressing disgust, while many Floridians rallied in support of "Old Sparky," as the Florida electric chair is known. One Florida woman, in an email to the court, described the photographs as "wonderful."
Each person can view the photographs, and read the following lengthy excerpt from the dissent of Justice Shaw and come to his or her own conclusion as to the propriety of capital punishment, and electrocution in particular. As Justice Shaw points out, the United States is the only country in the world that uses electrocution as a means of execution, and even in the United States only three states still use this method of execution.
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