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The Florida Bar

Will Florida Follow Suit with Trend in Abolishing the Death Penalty?

West Palm Beach map

This week New Jersey ended the death penalty as a form of criminal punishment. Such action was expected by the Governor and many states in the Nation are revisiting their stance on capital punishment. Other states, but not Florida. The states that are examining their death penalty statutes are ones that have very few people on death row and don’t seem to enforce the statute. In fact, New Jersey hadn’t executed anyone since 1963 and only had a handful of people awaiting execution when Governor John Corzine did away with executions.

In most cases the cost of imposing death outweighs the cost of life in prison for a defendant found guilty. States, when determining their stance on capital punishment, also evaluate the odds of executing a person who is, in fact, innocent.

Florida’s death penalty was reinstated in 1976 and has executed 64 people since that time. There are currently 389 people on death row in the state who are expected to spend 14 years on death row before being executed. In 2007 there were no inmates put to death due to the botched execution of defendant and convicted murderer Angel Diaz. Since that time, changes have been made to Florida’s lethal injection procedure and the Supreme Court is reviewing the constitutionality of such injections.

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