By: Whitney Ray
Tallahassee, Fla. -- Legislation to speed up executions in Florida is now speeding through the process. The bill would reduce the number of years inmates spend on death row by speeding up appeals and letting the governor and legislature review judges. As Whitney Ray tells us, there are more than 400 people currently on death row. Many will spend more than 20 years waiting to die.
Sentenced to die. Florida’s death row inmates spend an average of 13 years behind bars before they’re executed. Of the 406 inmates on death row, 155 have been there longer than 20 years.
“It should not take decades to deliver due process in these cases,” said Representative Matt Gaetz.
Legislation to speed up executions is now speeding through the Florida Legislature. The bill would streamline the appeals process and force judges to make quicker decisions.
“When there is an appeal of a post conviction motion the Supreme Court ought to be able to rule on that within 180 days. Now we sometimes have years pass before we get rulings,” said Gaetz.
The house and senate versions of the death row reform bill passed committees this week. Democrats say the reforms need further vetting.
“This product I think Ray Charles could see that it is defective right now. That it is not complete right now. Yeah Ray Charles,” said House Democrat Darryl Rouson.
“I love Ray Charles but if Ray Charles were to classify my product that I brought before the committee today as defective I would hope that he would be able to identify one defective piece of the product, not just merely classify it as defective,” said Rouson.
The legislation would also set up an oversight system for judges who don’t rule quickly in death cases. The judges would have to answer to the House Speaker, Senate President and the Governor.
Earlier this year a House Committee heard a bill that would have outlaw capital punishment in Florida. It was quickly voted down.