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May 7, 2013

"Florida tries to speed up executions as Maryland, other states repeal death penalty"

The title of this post is the headline of this recent FoxNews story, which actually does provide a relatively fair and balanced perspective on some recent capital punishment legislative developments:

While other states move to abolish capital punishment, Florida lawmakers are taking an entirely different approach -- trying to speed up executions for death row inmates.

The Republican-controlled legislature has sent a bill to Gov. Rick Scott that, if signed, would require the governor to sign execution warrants 30 days after the state Supreme Court reviews cases. It would require the state to execute a prisoner within 180 days of a warrant being signed. The legislation also sets new deadlines for death row appeals.

The bill arrives on Scott’s desk just days after Maryland became the sixth state in as many years -- and the 18th state overall -- to abolish the death penalty. Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed the bill Thursday, ending what supporters said was decades of racial and socio-economic disparity in death penalty sentencing.

Supporters of the Florida legislation claimed their bill was aimed at improving -- rather than abolishing -- a broken system. They argue it puts an end to condemned prisoners sitting for years on death row -- often through what they consider unnecessary delays in the so-called “post conviction” process.

Republican state Sen. Joe Negron, the bill's sponsor, on Monday called that situation a “mockery” of the criminal justice system. “We believe in due process,” Negron told FoxNews.com. “But this is about cases in which there is no allegation of innocence and a succession of motion after motion.”

He and fellow state Sen. Rob Bradley also argue the bill ends the long waits that surviving families and others must endure between a murder and the justice they seek. “This bill is about closure,” Bradley told The Florida Courier.

The average stay on Florida’s death row before being executed is roughly 13 years, according to state records.

Critics of the legislation, however, question why legislators would want to, in effect, accelerate the appeals process, considering 24 people on death row have been exonerated since Florida resumed executions in the 1970s, which is more exonerations than in any other state. “It is both tragic and ironic that the state that sends the highest number of wrongfully convicted people to death row is considering speeding up executions,” said Mark Elliott, of the group Innocent on Death Row. “Speeding up executions virtually guarantees that innocent people will be executed.”

The legislation attempts to fix the problem of the accused getting shoddy legal services by suspending lawyers for five years from handling death appeals if they are found twice to have provided deficient representation.

May 7, 2013 at 09:55 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Florida lawmakers are taking an entirely different approach -- trying to speed up executions for death row inmates.”

I suspect that some who generally oppose capital punishment, nonetheless dislike inane delays in its implementation.
It is the popular law of the land in many states.

In other words, though only 2/3 of Americans support the death penalty,
might not upwards of ¾ or more of Americans in states with it on the books,
wish that officials would dispense with the non-sense, i.e the hems and haws of decades of delay?

Posted by: Adamakis | May 7, 2013 12:31:11 PM

Sixth Commandment: Thou shalt not kill.
There is no exception syled: Y'all can.

Florida legislators can send this bill to the shaved head Governor and he will sign it. He looks like an ax murderer and he likes to sign death warrants. Florida is sort of a pirate territory and is getting closer to the real thing.

Posted by: liberty1st | May 8, 2013 5:19:28 PM

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