Florida has executed 72 human beings since it reinstated the death penalty in 1979. According to the Florida Department of Corrections the average inmate is on Death Row for 13.2 years before they are executed. The average age at the time of execution is 44 making most Death Row Inmates just 30 years of age at the time of the offense that led to their conviction.
Florida has no problem executing women either. The first, Judy Bunoano was sent to the electric chair in 1998. Shortly after her execution, Florida changed the means of execution to include the option of lethal injection. To conduct its executions Florida hires and pays a private citizen $150.00 per execution.
Tragically, not everyone who has been sent to Florida’s Death Row was actually guilty. In fact, according to the Death Penalty Information Center an independent not-for-profit organization, Florida has reversed more death sentences than any other state. Since 1973, Florida has released 23 people from death row based upon post-conviction evidence of their innocence. Nationally, there have been an average of 5 exonerations from Death Row a year.
Part of the problem is that Florida does not require its juries to unanimously recommend a death sentence. Of the 34 states currently allowing death sentences; Florida is the only state that permits juries to recommend it by a simple majority.
Now is the time that Florida must reform its criminal justice system by taking a closer look at what Florida’s death penalty says about us as a civilization, as well as the 401 people who are currently on Florida’s Death Row. Some argue and believe that having Florida’s Death Penalty somehow discourages murder. Yet, the statistics tell another story. For instance, in 2010 the average murder rate in states with death penalties was 4.6 per 100,000 while the average murder rate for states without the death penalty was only 2.9 per 100,000.
My experience and training as a Miami injury lawyer has been to hold those accountable for the harm they cause people by their carelessness and greed. I find it hard to reconcile that our State can take it upon itself to intentionally end the life of another in the name of justice. I believe that capital punishment is a barbaric and outdated form of brutality that must cease to exist. It does not serve as a deterrent to crime. Rather, it teaches us that murder is justifiable under certain circumstances, when condoned by the State.
Instead, we must teach our children that life is precious and that no man should be permitted to take the life of another under any circumstances. This includes state paid executioners. Criminals belong in jails run by states not in graves killed by those purportedly acting on our behalf.
Our law firm is currently representing a former inmate of the Florida Department of Corrections for the alleged mismanagement of a medical condition. Our Florida personal injury law firm is dedicated to protecting the rights of all people.