Ignoring The Public To Speed Up Executions

Gov. Rick Scott (Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

Gov. Rick Scott (Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images).

On Friday late afternoon, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the “Timely Justice Act,” a bill designed to speed up executions in a state that is responsible for more known wrongful convictions in death penalty cases than any other. As a result, there are “at least 13 inmates immediately eligible for death warrants.”

Governor Scott signed the bill after requesting to hear from the public, who responded by overwhelmingly urging him to veto it. As the News Service of Florida reported:

“As of Thursday, his office had received 447 phone calls, with 438 opposed to the bill; 14 letters, with 13 opposed; and 14,571 emails, with 14,565 opposed.”

Although Governor Scott, in signing the bill into law, ignored this public response, he does seem to have been impacted by it. He is now claiming that the “Timely Justice Act” is not meant to “fast track” executions, a claim seemingly disputed by the bill’s key sponsor, who said on Twitter that “Several on death row need to start picking out their last meals.”

As Governor Scott at least seems to recognize, an excessive enthusiasm for executions is not playing very well with the Florida public. That is an encouraging sign and reflects the general public disenchantment with capital punishment that has been evident for many years now.

Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina, who has a bill to restart executions in his state on his desk, ought to take note and reconsider resuming executions in a state that has done fine without them for almost 7 years.

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6 thoughts on “Ignoring The Public To Speed Up Executions

  1. I for one applaud the Timely Justice act and as a citizen of the State of North Carolina, I would urge Gov. McCrory to indeed take note; and sign the bill in front of him immediately. In fact, I would love for North Carolina to adopt a similar bill as the Timely Justice Act. Our backlog of murderous scum egregious and we're long overdue to start ridding society of their existence once and for all.

  2. Kudos to Gov Scott. I don't dispute the letter "campaign", phone calls, e-mails etc… These e-mail campaigns do not represent/reflect the majority of voters. — The Constituents elected representatives that passed the bill and the elected Governor who signed it. An AVERAGE of 13 to 14 years spent on death row is way too long. I'd love to be present for the next Governor's election debate and watch an anti-death penalty candidate argue with Gov Scott about this bill. A helpful fact (that you notoriously leave out and deprive your readers from) — the law kicks in / takes effect only AFTER all legal remedies have been exhausted and simply requires an execution warrant be issued NLT 30 days upon COMPLETION OF ALL legal remedies and requires that the execution take place NLT 180 days after the warrant has been issued. This law makes no changes to the post-trial rights afforded to those convicted of the most heinous and brutal crimes.

  3. One more thing for the benefit of your readers — The Law you are referring to passed the Florida House 84 to 34 and the Senate 28 – 10. That's over 70 percent of the State's Legislature. Governor Rick Scott is hardly ignoring his constituency / "mandate".

  4. Death panelty execution delay will not benefit society except more sympathy by public and human right activists forgetting the reason for this penelty and the cruelty of the act or crime this person have committed. One should not protect a person who decided by his own will to be cruel with his victim and expect the law to pardon his cruelty.

  5. I would have preferred to see:
    One appeal within 30 days; If appeal is unsuccessful then execution should be within 30 days. End of story.