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June 19, 2013

Florida Governor signs bill seeking to speed up executions

As reported in this recent local article, headlined "Gov. Rick Scott signs bill to speed up executions in Florida," the Sunshine State has a new law seeking to improve the administration of capital punishment. Here are the basics:

Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill into law Friday aimed at accelerating the pace of the death penalty process in Florida that could make the governor the most active executioner in modern state history.

The measure, dubbed “the Timely Justice Act” by its proponents, requires governors to sign death warrants 30 days after the Florida Supreme Court certifies that an inmate has exhausted his legal appeals and his clemency review. Once a death warrant is signed, the new law requires the state to execute the defendant within six months.

In a lengthy letter accompanying his signature, Scott aggressively countered allegations by opponents that the law will “fast track” death penalty cases and emphasized that it “discourages stalling tactics” of defense attorneys and ensures that the convicted “do not languish on death row for decades.”

The bill, which passed the House 84-34 and was approved by the Senate 28-10, allows the governor to control the execution schedule slightly because it requires him to sign a death warrant after the required clemency review is completed and only the governor may order the clemency investigation. Scott’s office told lawmakers that because at least 13 of the 404 inmates on Death Row have exhausted their appeals, his office has already started the clock on the clemency review....

Supporters said 154 inmates have been on Florida’s Death Row 20 years and 10 have been there for more than 35 years. The average time for appeals runs 13 years, which is below the national average of 14.8 years.

Death penalty opponents flooded the governor’s office with letters and petitions, urging him to veto the bill and ask the Legislature to instead change what they consider a deeply flawed death penalty process in Florida....

The law imposes strict time limits for when records must be submitted from courts, prosecutors and defense attorneys in an attempt to streamline the appeals process. It also requires reports to the Legislature on how many cases have been pending, reestablishes a Death Row appeals office for North Florida and bans attorneys from handling capital appeals if they have been twice cited for constitutionally incompetent handling of cases.

The signing letter referenced in this article by Gov Rick Scott is available at this link.  And, building mostly on this legal development in Florida, Stateline has this lengthy new report headlined "Some States Speed Up Death Penalty," which starts this way:

Supporters and opponents of capital punishment agree: The current death penalty is expensive, inefficient, and arbitrary. Some state legislatures have reacted to those faults by abolishing the death penalty, while others are trying to speed it up.

Since 2007, six states have abolished capital punishment — most recently Maryland, which did so this year. But other states, troubled by some of the same problems, have moved in the opposite direction.

June 19, 2013 at 09:07 AM | Permalink


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typical govt fucktard. he wants to speed up killing. but is doing everything legal and otherwise to slow down the return of constitutional guaranteed civil rights to those who have legally served thier court ordered sentence!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jun 19, 2013 3:18:26 PM

Hey Doug, you like creative sentencing but also dislike drunk drivers. So what do you think of this sentence?


Posted by: Daniel | Jun 19, 2013 3:55:05 PM

Twice as many Americans believe the death penalty is not imposed often enough as too often. (Gallup, 2010-2011)

Does anyone think it's carried out in a rushed or even a well-paced fashion in Florida?

Awesome, Governor Scott.

Long live our Republic.

Posted by: Adamakis | Jun 20, 2013 8:57:38 AM

\-- "Supporters and opponents of capital punishment agree: The current death penalty is expensive, inefficient, and arbitrary .. Since 2007, six states have abolished capital punishment .. But other states, troubled by some of the same problems, have moved in the opposite direction." --/

Sorry to appear cynical, but the leaders of the states abolishing or incapacitating the death penalty which I have identified, e.g. Maryland & Oregon, are palpably not "troubled" by the expense (nor delays) since their party's members have created it and support it (unrestricted appeals)!

O'Malley, Kitzhaber, and sympathetic legislators, are "troubled" and motivated by an inflexible ideology opposed to capital punishment, which the citizens in their states -- and every other state I reckon -- contrarily support.
So sure, they’re troubled.

Posted by: Adamakis | Jun 22, 2013 10:59:41 AM

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