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February 20, 2009

Noticing that a death sentence is often practically a life sentence in Florida

The Orlando Sentinel has this long article documenting the reality that defendants sentenced to death in Florida are just as likely to die while awaiting execution as being executed. The piece is headlined, "Justice denied? On Florida's death row, many lives end -- but not by execution," and here are snippets:

Between March 1998 and November 2008, the Department of Corrections executed 26 prisoners. During that same period, another 26 death-row inmates died of other causes, the Orlando Sentinel found.

Such figures don't surprise experts, since death-penalty cases can take years -- even decades -- to work through the legal system. While the condemned wait, they can fall victim to ailments traceable to years of unhealthy living before their convictions, including drugs and alcohol abuse.

Of the 26 inmates who died from other causes, more than half passed away from cancer or heart disease.  Prison officials wouldn't comment on the health of those currently on death row.  But two inmates were recently in a prison infirmary, and another at a treatment center, according to DOC.

Prisoners spend an average of 14 years on death row.  The rate of execution in Florida fluctuates each year -- six in 2000, for example, but two last year.

February 20, 2009 at 08:02 AM | Permalink


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Here's an interesting two paragraphs in the second page:
She wants her family to be able to live without the fear that Hitchcock could someday go free, however.

"I do not want him to die of natural causes," Meadows said.
Dead is dead, isn't it?

Posted by: . | Feb 20, 2009 9:24:29 AM

Cute, 9:24:29. Remember, what that woman has suffered . . . .

Posted by: federalist | Feb 20, 2009 11:01:30 AM

My point was merely that even though she professes to want him to never be able to offend again, natural causes or (presumably) suicide would not suffice. That is, she wants prison officials to take care (suicide watch, medical care) in keeping him alive for execution.

Posted by: . | Feb 20, 2009 11:16:10 AM

Or it just means that she doesn't want him free and wants him executed.

The "dead is dead" comment is pretty snarky. I doubt you'd say it to her face.

Posted by: federalist | Feb 20, 2009 11:42:23 AM

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