By: Mike Springer
February 21, 2013
Tallahassee, FL-As the clock ticks away towards Paul Howell's execution day, one group is pushing to keep Howell off the executioner's table.
Members of Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty along with local religious leaders are calling on Governor Rick Scott to issue a stay of execution in Howell's case.
"If feel that those, if they have done these crimes, they should not, not be punished. But our feeling is that the death penalty is not necessary to accomplishing those means," said Juvais Harrington, chair of Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty.
Howell is on Florida's Death Row. He was convicted of sending a pipe bomb that killed Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jimmy Fulford in 1992 in Jefferson County.
The group says if the Governor doesn't grant a stay of execution, then they will hold a candle light vigil in front of the Governor's Mansion the night Howell is expected to be killed.
Late Wednesday, Howell's attorneys filed a motion to take the case to federal court.
"If he does not have his federal review, he will be the first person executed in Florida since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 who did not have federal review of his case," said Pat Madden with the Michael Ufferman Law Firm.
Howell's attorneys say they'll take the matter all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Governor Scott's Office released this statement: 'Under Florida law, it is the Governor's duty to make decisions on cases involving capital punishment, and he takes this solemn duty very seriously.'
Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty Release
Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty will hold a press conference at the Florida Press Center at 336 E. College Avenue, Tallahassee on Thursday, February 21 at 11 a.m. TCADP leaders and several members of the clergy will be in attendance.
Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty have compiled statements on the death penalty from fourteen different faith communities. The booklet, “Faith Responses to the Death Penalty,” is being distributed to every member of the Florida Legislature, Governor Rick Scott, and Attorney General Pam Bondi this week. Increasingly, faith leaders are speaking out against capital punishment as Florida prepares to execute Paul Howell on February 26. Unless the courts act, Mr. Howell will be the first person executed in Florida without the opportunity for federal court review.
“This would be unprecedented for Florida,” said Michael Ufferman, Howell’s attorney. “We believe Mr. Howell has many strong claims that merit federal review.”
This year the Florida Legislature is working to increase the speed with which executions take place. “At a time when so many other states have abandoned capital punishment, Florida pushes ahead with this revengeful practice. It’s time to change Florida’s bad public policy and follow the teachings of so many religions – faiths practiced by many of our Legislators and our Governor,” said Rev. Emory Hingst.
Among the religious statements in the booklet are the American Baptists, the Evangelical Lutherans, the Presbyterian Church, the United Methodist Church, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Florida Council of Churches, and the American Jewish Committee – these and seven more have all released statements against the use of capital punishment.
Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty calls on Governor Scott to issue a stay of execution. If a stay is not granted, TCADP will hold a vigil at the time of the scheduled execution on Tuesday, February 26 at 6 p.m. in front of the Governor’s Mansion. There will also be a Service of Remembrance on the following day, Wednesday, February 27 at 12 noon at the Capitol Rotunda to remember Paul Howell and victim, Jimmy Fulford.
Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty coordinates and encourages the efforts of local individuals and groups to promote alternatives to the death penalty. Our members represent diverse backgrounds and persuasions but are united by the conviction that capital punishment is bad public policy.