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Expedited death penalty process on its way to Gov. Scott

by Dara Kam | April 29th, 2013

Death Row inmates would get executed faster under a measure on its way to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk.

The Senate approved the bill (HB 7083) with a 28-10 vote this afternoon despite the objections of some Democrats who said the fast-tracked process is risky.

The “Timely Justice Act,” approved by the House last week, creates shorter time frames for death penalty appeals and take away the governor’s discretion about when to order an execution.

If Scott signs the bill or allows it to become law without his approval, 13 Death Row inmates would fit its criteria, meaning the governor who has signed nine death warrants in the 29 months since he took office would have to order 13 executions within six months.

Sen. Joe Negron, the bill’s sponsor, said the changes are necessary to bring justice to victims. The average length of time between arrest and execution in Florida is 20 years, and 10 Death Row inmates have been awaiting execution for more than three decades, Negron said before the vote.

The delay makes “a mockery of the court system,” Negron, R-Stuart, said. Court and jury decisions “at some point…needs to be carried out.”

But Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, argued that speeding up the process could result in the execution of innocent people.

Twenty-four Florida Death Row inmates have been exonerated, the most of any state in the nation.

“Once the execution is completed, it’s over. There’s no going back,” Sachs, a former prosecutor, argued. “I don’t see the reason for the swiftness especially with DNA evidence that can exonerate.”

Florida is the only state in the nation that allows a simple majority of the jury on capital cases. Critics of the bill had tried to change it to require a 10-2 majority of the jury as Alabama requires. All other states with the death penalty require unanimous jury decisions.

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6 Responses to “Expedited death penalty process on its way to Gov. Scott”

  1. TrafficAvenger Says:

    Florida should do away with the Death Penalty just for the simple reason of cost if nothing else. When sentenced to death, the appeal process starts then and there. It takes more resources for a death penalty then it does for a life sentences.
    The death penalty does not deter anyone from crime it is only a feel good moment for the victims families and friends.
    I am all for a eye for an eye but the fact is when someone is sentenced to the death, the cost out weights the end results.
    Let the offenders rot in the system under artificial lights for all their years left in their lives.

  2. spence Says:

    The headline on the article had we wondering if the Governor was in real trouble.

  3. Dick Scott Says:

    Oh man..I read the headlines to quickly. Thought it said that Rick Scott got the death penalty! Oh well I guess we have to wait for 2014 now

  4. Downtown Danny Says:

    This is what Republicans spend our money doing?
    Closing arcades, raising our property insurance rates, ripping us off on our auto insurance, and sending people to the chair quicker? Who asked for this?
    I WILL NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN AGAIN!

  5. Bito Says:

    The bottom line is there are people on death row who are innocent, That can not be overlooked, There are prosecutors that want to make a name for themselves and will convict innocent people to get there, In their quest for power and control, The bottom line is, We do need to address the death penalty so people are not executed for crimes they have not commited. Our system of justice is so corrupt that the truth is sometimes biased by overzealot prosecuters and the power of money, Just like the Goodmans case.

  6. Jon Says:

    13 death elegible inmates? Thats nowheres even near correct. Over 100 inmates have exhausted their appeals. where do u come up with 13?

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