Speeding Up Execution Bill Gets Calls for Veto

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By: Mike Vasilinda

Florida has averaged three point two executions a year since the death penalty was reinstated in 1979. Three people have already died by lethal injection this year and two more executions are pending before the middle of June. Legislation on the Governor’s desk is designed to speed up executions even more, but it may have the opposite effect.

Executions are pending for two man between now and June 12. Their executions will bring the year’s total to five. Ranking 2013, number three in executions since Florida resumed using the death penalty in 1979.

But lawmakers want an even quicker pace. Legislation on the Governor’s desk seeks to speed up executions. It also reverses a decision made a decade ago that was intended to speed up the process; but didn’t. Former Supreme Court Justice Raul Cantero. says the new changes are still deficient.

“What I’m disappointed in is that the legislature also did not reform the death penalty process to provide for some kind of unanimity in the death penalty recommendation process as every other state has.”, says Raul Cantero, Former Supreme Court Justice.

The bill attempts to tell the Governor when he has to sign death warrants, but experts say that’s most likely a violation of separation of powers.

Mark Schlackman from the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, says the Governor, could today, sign up to a hundred warrants. “Florida’s process of issuing death warrants is unconstitutionally vague.”, says Schlackman.

Florida leads the nation with 24 death row exonerations. The ACLU says speeding up executions would be a mistake. “And it makes almost certain that Florida is going to execute an innocent person.”, says Howard Simon, ACLU.

The ACLU also says signing the legislation would tie this and future Governor’s hands in signing death warrants, which they say is reason enough for a veto.

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