Florida currently has over 400 inmates on death row, making it the state with the second largest group of persons to be executed. Unlike most states, in Florida, a judge may override a jury’s decision of life without parole and impose a death sentence and it is the only state where a unanimous jury agreement is not required in at least one part of recommending a sentence of death. This state leads the nation in sending innocent people to death row. Over 25 death row inmates have been exonerated due to evidence of wrongful conviction. Since reinstating the death penalty in 1972 and restarting executions in 1979, Florida has executed 70 prisoners (fourth highest in the U.S.).
In 2011, for the first time in Florida’s history, a bill was introduced in the state legislature that would end executions. Passage of such legislation will no doubt be a long, uphill battle, but it is beginning to gain traction due to the huge cost of the state’s death penalty program and Florida’s record for having the nation’s highest risk of executing innocent people.
CMN State Spotlight – August 2014
“Until the day our state ends its use of capital punishment, requiring a jury’s unanimous recommendation for a sentence of death will encourage thoughtful deliberation and ensure a more reliable and fair sentencing process.”
CMN State Spotlight – November 2011
“Florida’s Death Penalty program has a dark and deeply troubling history marred by error, racism and political expediency. Today, exciting new developments are beginning to illuminate policy-makers and the general public alike on the need to reallocate scarce taxpayer resources for preventative criminal justice, public safety and crime victim programs.”