09/28/2011 09:51 am ET | Updated Nov 28, 2011

Next Execution in USA: Today in Florida -- As Use of New Chemicals Draws Protest

As I noted last week, the next execution in the USA is set for today, at 4 p.m., with a state-ordered killing in Raiford, Florida, of Manuel Valle, age 61. Valle was convicted of killing one highway patrol officer and wounding another -- 33 years ago. So he has spent more than half his life on death row.

It would be the first execution in the state since February 2010. A long-shot appeal has been filed at the U.S. Supreme Court. The daughter of the murder victim responded to news of the final date for the execution by saying: "Woo Hoo!"

The execution is drawing added interest as a kind of "test" of a new execution "cocktail" of chemicals. Executions in several states have been slowed by questions about the effectiveness of the chemicals, and protests by activists led to a leading supplier refusing to continue to send lethal chemicals to death rows. Interesting piece here on a noted doctor trying to stop this "test." (The state Supreme Court just ruled against him.)

Now the head of the Danish company that supplied one of the chemicals to Florida has written Gov. Rick Scott protesting its use. From The Guardian report: : "Doctors and legal experts warn that pentobarbital is untested and could inflict extreme suffering on prisoners as they die. In his letter to Scott, Staffan Schuberg wrote that the use of his company's drugs in executions in Florida 'contradicts everything Lundbeck is in business to do - provide therapies that improve people's lives.'"

See my new e-book, Dead Reckoning: Executions in America, for a lengthy probe of current execution practices, and much more.