– August 22, 2014 –
Florida’s death penalty program is notorious for its national record number of exonerated Death Row survivors. Since the 1970s, more than 24 wrongfully convicted people were exonerated and freed from Florida’s death row. Frank Lee Smith died of cancer after languishing 14 years on death row – mere months before DNA evidence testing previously blocked by the state revealed his innocence. Like 80 percent of the Floridians wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death, Frank Lee Smith was a person of color.
Executions are irreversible and unnecessary. In Florida, the statutory alternative to the death penalty is incarceration until death. Florida’s arbitrary execution selection process has more to do with race, county politics and poverty.
Since before Florida became a state in 1845, no white person has ever been executed for killing a black person. Of 46 people executed when rape was a capital crime, 42 were black. Duval County (Jacksonville) has just 5 percent of Florida’s population yet, in recent years, has accounted for almost one-third of state death sentences. Most of those sentenced were African-American.
Florida spends an estimated $1 million a week to enforce executions, while due to lack of funds, 14,000 homicides remain unsolved, effective crime prevention programs have been disbanded, and critical needs of murder victim’s families go unmet.
Please stand up and stand out, speak up and speak out for a safer, more humane and less violent Florida. FADP – Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty – is a coalition of individuals and organizations united to abolish the death penalty in Florida. FADP works to build a strong, diverse, statewide, grassroots movement that opposes executions, supports reforms aimed at reducing the application of the death penalty until it is ultimately abolished, protects the humanity of all persons impacted by the death penalty, educates Floridians about the death penalty, and provides concrete action steps for individuals and groups.
Please visit our website for actions and events near you.
This article was featured in CMN’s August 2014 newsletter.