Florida has exonerated more Death Row Inmates than any other state in the nation – 23 inmates, to date – and that’s something we all need to be taking very, very seriously.
Which is exactly what has been happening over in Tallahassee, where a panel made up of respected academics, experts on death penalty legalities, and legislators gathered together to consider how to combat the evident and obvious danger that innocent folk might be executed by the State of Florida.
Seems everyone agrees that there are lots of problems with capital punishment, cost not being the least of them. However, it doesn’t appear that the swift and clean answer of abolishing the death penalty in Florida will be happening any time soon.
What was this panel? It was put together by the Florida State University in commemoration of the 5th anniversary of an ABA study of Florida’s death penalty procedures – which included recommendations that weren’t followed by Florida lawmakers.
For example, Florida still doesn’t need an unianimous jury to sentence someone to death. Juries can recommend the death penalty by a majority vote, and the judge imposes the sentence (and he or she usually follows the jury’s recommendation). The ABA thought that juries in Florida should at least be required to vote 100% in favor of death before it was recommended. Didn’t happen.
What will result from the panel’s efforts? Too soon to tell. We should look for new proposed legislation coming from it … but whether or not those proposals become law in the State of Florida is another ball game.