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How Florida's Death Penalty Is Killing Us

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Since 1979 Florida has executed 72 human beings. Most spent more than a decade on death row waiting to be killed. According to the Florida Department of Corrections the average death row inmate is 44 years old at the time of his execution, while they were only 30 years of age at the time of the alleged offense that led to their conviction.

Florida also executes women. Judy Bunoano was the first woman Florida executed in 1998. She died in an electric chair. Currently there are four women on death row.

After Bunonano's execution, Florida started offering lethal injections as an optional means. The executions are performed by an unnamed "private citizen" that gets paid $150.00 for each execution.

Tragically, not everyone who has been on Florida's death row was actually guilty. In fact, Florida reverses more death sentences than any other state in the country, releasing 23 death row inmates based upon post-conviction evidence of their innocence.

Now is the time that Florida must reform its criminal justice system by taking a closer look at what Florida's death penalty says about us as a civilization, as well as the 401 people who are currently on Florida's death row. Some argue and believe that having Florida's death penalty somehow discourages murder. Yet, the statistics tell another story. For instance, in 2010 the average murder rate in states with death penalties was 4.6 per 100,000 while the average murder rate for states without the death penalty was only 2.9 per 100,000.

Another serious problem is that Florida law does not currently require a jury to unanimously recommend a death sentence. In fact, of the 34 states currently allowing death sentences; Florida is the only state that permits juries to recommend it by a simple majority.

My experience and training as a board certified Florida civil trial lawyer has been to hold those accountable for the harm they cause people by their carelessness and greed. I find it hard to understand how Florida can take it upon itself to intentionally kill a person in the name of justice.

I believe that capital punishment is a barbaric and outdated form of brutality that must cease to exist. The death penalty does not prevent violent crime or encourage those intending to commit murder to move to another state. Rather, it teaches us that murder is justifiable when the murderer is the state itself.

Life is too precious. No man should be permitted to take the life of another under any circumstances. This includes Florida's State paid $150.00 executioner. Criminals belong in jails not in electrocuted or lethally injected to death by those who think they are acting on our behalf.

As long as convicted death row inmates are found innocent no further executions should be permitted to take place in Florida.