Electric Chair Malfunctions In Florida

1997

During the execution of Pedro Medina in an electric chair, flames and smoke erupt from the mask covering Medina’s head during the two minutes that the 2,000-volt electric shock is administered. This malfunction, coupled with a similar malfunction during the execution of Jesse Trafero in 1990, leads to a challenge to use of the electric chair as “cruel and unusual” punishment, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. In October 1997, the Florida Supreme Court will uphold the use of the electric chair.