Last January, Florida’s death penalty law was ruled unconstitutional because judges were given too much authority in determining who received a death sentence. In response, the Florida legislature attempted to “fix” the law by mandating that at least 10 of 12 jurors must agree that an execution is the appropriate punishment.
Last week, a Miami-Dade judge, Milton Hirsch, declared that the “fix” is also unconstitutional because it fails to require a unanimous jury, which is standard in most death penalty states. Judge Hirsch wrote, “A decedent cannot be more or less dead. An expectant mother cannot be more or less pregnant, and a jury cannot be more or less unanimous. Every verdict in every criminal case in Florida requires the concurrence, not of some, not of most, but of all jurors — every single one of them.” With Florida’s newest death penalty debacle, Sunshine State executions could remain on hold for quite some time.
In other news, the pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, announced that it will no longer permit its drugs to be used in executions. Pfizer’s decision closes many states’ last remaining legitimate source of lethal injection drugs, which seriously complicates their ability to carry out executions.
Conservatives Concerned in the media
Over the past month, CCATDP continued sharing our message in the media that the death penalty is simply inconsistent with our core principles. Here are a few of the mentions:
• I returned as a guest to Liberty Talk Radio to discuss conservatives’ increased involvement in efforts to repeal capital punishment.
• We were also featured in a Louisiana article that highlighted how conservatives are rethinking the death penalty. The piece was published in Best of New Orleans and Ripple.
Conservatives Concerned in the field
From April 22-24, CCATDP’s Ben Jones exhibited and led two workshops at the Life/Peace/Justice Conference. His breakout sessions focused on the conservative case for ending the death penalty and the current campaigns for repeal around the country. At each workshop, many attendees had questions and exhibited their interest in getting involved in their states’ repeal efforts.
May 6-8, I attended the North Carolina GOP convention for the third year in a row, working alongside North Carolina Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty. We enjoyed a successful convention and met many new conservatives, law enforcement officers, and military veterans who view capital punishment as an unnecessary government power.
On May 13, I spoke at a conference in Atlanta, GA that was focused on habeas corpus issues, and it was attended by attorneys from across the United States. I discussed the growing conservative movement to end capital punishment and how conservatives are increasingly becoming outspoken objectors to the injustices inextricably linked to the death penalty.
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