Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom
By: Mike Vasilinda
June 17, 2013
Governor Rick Scott is executing inmates at a higher rate than any Governor of Florida since the death penalty was resumed in 1979. After taking office two and a half years ago, 8 death sentences have been carried out. New legislation to speed up the process even more is drawing both cheers and jeers.
The average stay on death row before an execution is 13 years. The goal of legislation called the Timely Justice Act is to cut the waiting time to ten years. It’s critics call it shameful justice. “We’re not sure why there is such a hurry, certainly at a time when Florida is also the leading state in the number of exonerations”, says Sheila Meehan, Citizens Against the Death Penalty.
The legislation requires reports from the Supreme Court on the status of cases, sets up a provision for a death warrant to be signed if the Governor isn’t carrying out his duties, and it requires the Governor to act quickly after conducting clemency. “It’s potentially dangerous for people who are in their appeals process, the governor’s office says that it will not speed up appeals, that people will be allowed their full range of court hearings”, says Sheila Hopkins from FL Catholic Conference.
The legislation also reinstates an office of state lawyers to represent death row inmates on appeal. “The Capital Regional Council are expert in this type of process, and so generally you get better representation”, said Raoul Cantero, Former Supreme Court Justice.
Governor Rick Scott is averaging more executions per year than any governors in recent Florida history, and why that is so surprising is because Scott has told people that he didn’t realize that signing warrants is part of the job description when he signed up.
Double murder Marshall Gore is set to die June 24, if carried out, he will be Rick Scott’s 9th execution.