Rolling attempts to delay lethal injectionBy JESSICA RIFFELAlligator Staff Writer
Rolling appeals as death date looms
After Gov. Jeb Bush signed his death warrant last month, confessed serial killer Danny Rolling has filed a last-ditch attempt to overthrow his death sentence.
His attorney, Baya Harrison, filed an appeal of the death penalty sentence with the Florida Supreme Court on Monday, just meeting this week's deadline.
He had filed a motion to overturn Rolling's death sentence on Oct. 4 with the District 8 Circuit Court, but Circuit Judge Stan R. Morris denied it on Monday.
Harrison filed an appeal of that decision the same day with the Florida Supreme Court, giving them the same motion to overturn the death sentence.
Rolling, who pleaded guilty in 1994 for the murders of five UF and SFCC students in 1990, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Oct. 25, according to a death warrant signed by Bush on Sept. 22.
The execution could be held off temporarily or permanently if there are any major issues leading officials to believe he should not be executed, said State Attorney's Office spokesman Spencer Mann.
He said a stay is possible, but "there don't seem to be any substantive issues that need to be resolved."
Rolling's motion to overturn the death sentence, which was set in 1994, cites four reasons that he should not be executed.
The response from Morris denied all four arguments, citing legal precedent for each.
The Florida Supreme Court can make its own decision to either deny the motion, refuse to look at it, or accept the motion and therefore hold off the execution.
According to the motion filed by Harrison, Rolling should not be executed because death by lethal injection is "cruel and unusual punishment," because it violates his First Amendment right to free speech, because he has not received public records he requested and because a recent report from the Florida Bar cites several problems with the state's current death penalty system.
According to Morris' response, the claim that lethal injection is cruel and unusual has been denied in several Florida death penalty cases, so it should not be invoked in this case.
The judge wrote that Rolling's claim that the execution violates his free speech assumes the injection will be administered incorrectly, leaving Rolling unable to communicate any pain. Morris refuted the argument because there is no evidence that the injection will be botched.
The Florida Bar report reason was denied because the report only makes recommendations, not law, for the system. He also wrote that it is "inapplicable" to this case.
The reply states that the public records Rolling is requesting will not be given to him because he had to have previously requested them.
Rolling is now asking for records from the Florida Medical Examiner's Office and the Department of Corrections to challenge the use of the chemicals used to carry out the execution, according to Morris' reply.
Florida statute states that records requests are "not intended to aid a defendant in delaying execution," Morris wrote.