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December 12, 2012

Florida closed out capital punishment in 2012 with execution of mass murderer

As reported in this local article, headlined "Florida executes ex-cop for killing 9 in 1986," in the Sunshine State a "former Sweetwater police and Florida Highway Patrol officer convicted of nine murders was executed on Tuesday night."  Here are some details:

Manuel Pardo, 56, was pronounced dead at 7:47 p.m., about 16 minutes after his execution by lethal injection began. The execution was originally scheduled for 6 p.m. but was delayed by last minute appeals to the Florida Supreme Court, which were denied.

Pardo was convicted of killing nine people during a 1986 crime spree in Miami. At the time, officials said Pardo's victims were killed over a span of three months and most were involved with drugs. Pardo said he was doing the world a favor with the murders. After his arrest, he called himself a soldier and asked for the death penalty, according to published reports....

In a statement handed out after the execution, Pardo apologized to his family for the "pain and grief I have caused all of you." He wrote that he wished to set the record straight. "I accept full responsibility for killing the 6 men," he wrote, "but I never harmed those 3 women or any female. I took the blame as I knew I was doomed and it made no difference to me, at the time, having 6 or 9 death sentences. I don't want this hanging over my head, especially these last few minutes of life, because my war was against men who were trafficing (sic) in narcotics, and no one else."...

Back outside of the prison, a man named Frank Judd, nephew of victim Fara Quintero, read a statement. He said the loss of his aunt may have happened long ago, but the pain from it always lingers. He also said the execution was only a mild recompense for the loss. "I don't feel it's enough justice for the atrocities this man committed," he said. "This man was not a soldier."... Before he left, Judd offered his condolences to the families of other victims. "We understand their suffering," he said. "And that today may serve as an end to a terrible darkness."

According to statistics kept here by the Death Penalty Information Center, this Florida execution was the 43rd death sentence carried out in the United States in 2012.  No more executions are scheduled for 2012, and it also seems unlikely that many (or perhaps any) death sentences will be handed down over the next few weeks.  Consequently, the machinery of death would appear done for another year.

There appears to be two serious January execution dates scheduled for before inauguration day on January 20, 2013.  If those executions go forward, there will have been a total of 186 executions throughout the United States during President Barack Obama's first term, the most executions for any modern President's first term other than George W. Bush.  Notably, the total number of executions nationwide went way up during President Bill Clinton's second term (from around 180 to well over 300), and went down during Bush's second term (from over 260 to under 200).  It is hard to predict where executions numbers may trend over the next four year, though a move up in the number of executions seems likely if a few states with large death rows like California and Pennsylvania get back into the execution business anytime soon.

December 12, 2012 at 10:03 AM | Permalink


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"Consequently, the machinery of death would appear done for another year."

Would that it were so. The real "machinery of death" -- murder -- is hardly done for the year. There are almost certain to be hundreds more murders this year, some for a fee, some for revenge, some for lust, some for kicks.

There are plenty of innocent people being killed in this country, just none by capital punishment.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 12, 2012 10:32:54 AM

As Bill notes "plenty of innocent people killed in this country." Bill omits to say and vast majority of those kille by guns, freely available. All hail to the Second Amendment right to possess arms to kill whoever we like whenever we like. Portland, Oregon yesterday--and tomorrow? I feel much safer now that I'm packing. When I lose my temper, don't mess with me!!

Posted by: onlooker4 | Dec 12, 2012 11:59:49 AM

I don't get the attempt to categorize the number of executions by presidential terms.

Like almost every other criminal law issue, most executions are carried out at the state level and the key executive branch official is the governor of the State. Furthermore, executions take place years (unfortunately too many years) after the crime was committed -- meaning that a major part of the case took place well before the term of the president in which the execution finally occurs. Lastly, when executions occur have a lot to do with when habeas proceedings are concluded (and recently litigation over the method of execution). Other than moving quickly to fill vacancies in the federal bench (something on which all recent presidents deserve a D at best), there is little that a president does thatimpacts the number of executions in a given year or in their term of office.

Posted by: tmm | Dec 12, 2012 12:04:19 PM

onlooker4 --

"Bill omits to say and vast majority of those kille by guns, freely available."

That's because (1) the posted story isn't about the Second Amendment (although many other stories on this blog are), and (2) I doubt there's anyone who reads this who doesn't know most murder is committed with guns.

Incidentally, I'm not the one pushing for expanded gun availability to convicted felons. If you're looking to pick a fight, look in a different place.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Dec 12, 2012 12:49:46 PM

At the basic legal level, tmm, you are right that the Prez has limited formal role or impact on executions in the states. But the Prez (and other federal officials he leads) can have both a direct and indirect impact on the administration of capital punishment. The federal judges appointed by a Prez certainly play a role in the process and pace of habeas actions in federal courts, and the funding of defender services and other DOJ activities also can have an impact. Moreover, the tone and tenor of how our nation's leader approaches criminal justice issues certainly trickles down in various ways to various aspect of the administration of capital punishment.

That all said, I certainly do not think it would be appropriate to assert that a US Prez is "responsible" for the number of state executions that take place on his watch. But I do think it is appropriate and interesting to do an accounting of sorts in this way if only to highlight the relative unpredictability of nationwide execution patterns in recent decades.

Posted by: Doug B. | Dec 12, 2012 2:54:14 PM

Ex military. Ex police. Kills 6 sociopaths dealing drugs, doing the duty of the criminal law to protect the public. Because he competes with the greatest criminal syndicate of all, because he does the job the lawyer refuses to do, he has to surrender his life. No vet credit nor vet court if the defendant is a lawyer competitor.

Here is an alternative sentence. If a citizen kills a repeat violent offender, he receives a check for $10,000 per head. I would like to see the victims of the 6 criminals he dispatched speak up, then kneecap the prosecutor of this utilitarian hero, and the judge who passed sentence. To deter the lawyer enemy of our nation. Those two are more morally disgusting than the drug dealers, who make no pretense of false piety. Those two have an irremediable conflict of interest, being pro-criminal, sub-human lawyers defending their turf against a truly effective incapacitator of criminals.

We have a felony murder rule. In fairness and symmetry, we should also have a felony victim defense. If the victim was engaged in a felony at the time of his victimization, the sentence should either be mitigated/revised down, or should consist of a money reward.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 13, 2012 7:33:08 AM

Only one problem with this ideal SC the govt will never allow a low that permits those who catch a criminal in the act to kill then.

We'd lose a good 30% of law enforcment and 90% of the govt if that happened!

Not to mention about 60% of the 4th estate!

Posted by: rodsmith | Dec 13, 2012 10:24:18 AM

I wouldn't hold my breath on California and Pennsylvania. I would think executions could rise significantly if Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Arkansas ever resolve their LI issues. Florida could have several a month if the Governor would get more aggressive.

Posted by: DaveP | Dec 15, 2012 11:13:45 AM

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