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Governor Scott accelerates five death row warrants

Roger Caldwell

Roger Caldwell

Governor Scott accelerates five  death row warrants

By Roger Caldwell

There are 400 inmates on death row in Florida, and these cases are complex with many twist and turns. Death penalty appeals are just 12 percent of the court’s cases, but they take up more than 50 percent of the court’s time. These cases cost the state thousands of dollars, and most of the inmates have been on death row for more than a decade.

If the five sentences are carried out, it would make this the most executions in Florida in a year, since Governor Bush executed six in 2000. “He’s cleaning out death row. It’s very very crazy. It’s very unusual. It’s  my understanding that Governor Scott wants to be hard on crime, but I don’t think this is the solution,” says Rev. Phil Egitto, a Roman Catholic priest.

Rev Egitto is an opponent of the death penalty and he organizes protest at each execution. Many other opponents believe this is a campaign strategy to make it appear that he is hard on crime. Nevertheless, no one really knows what the governor is thinking, and it is incumbent that opponents of the death penalty ask questions.

Not since 1989, when Governor Bob Martinez set a record by signing six death warrants in a single day, has a Florida governor been so eager to use the death penalty. Governor Scott recently signed three death warrants, and these executions are set over the next six weeks. Many times death warrants are blocked in federal court, but it appears that our governor wants to move the system forward.

During Governor Scott’s first year two prisoners’ were executed, and during his second year three inmates were executed. It is obvious that this was not communicated extensively in the media, but when the governor breaks records for execution, it becomes the top breaking news story. The pace may not continue because it adds to the courts’ workload, but our governor likes controversy and media attention.

As the five death warrants are discussed in the court of public opinion, it will be interesting to see how Floridians will react to the death-penalty. There has been little discussion on the death penalty, but with the acceleration in Florida on death warrants, the dialogue and conversation will began.

Many priest and pastors believe that execution is barbaric and an eye for an eye is a distorted way to view the world. But American leaders, lawmakers, and judges practice this policy every day, and justice is determined by who has the most money’s and willing to pay.

Hopefully, Governor Scott’s death warrants get blocked by the courts and his priorities will shift to a different policy. But opponents to capital punishment must continue to be vigilant and stop all barbaric executions in America. The legal and penal systems are broken and people on death row and housed in our prisons are treated as sub-human.

There is a fundamental pervasive sickness in capital punishment and our governor is seated  at the head of the table. In Florida we need level-headed thinking and rational decisions from our governor.


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