What do Florida, North Korea and Iran have in common?
From the State You're In pages in the April Floridian in Sunday's Times: In its most recent report on death sentences and executions, Amnesty International draws some unflattering comparisons between Florida and the rest of the world.
Florida passed the Timely Justice Act (TJA) aimed, in part, at speeding up the pace of executions. Such legislation is inconsistent with international human rights standards which seek eventual abolition of the death penalty, and ignores the reality of Florida's high error rate in capital cases. Florida accounts for some 15% of the more than 140 inmates released from death rows in the USA since 1973 on grounds of innocence. When Florida's Governor Rick Scott signed the TJA into law on 14 June 2013, Representative Matt Gaetz, the sponsor of the bill in the House of Representatives, responded by tweeting his thanks, adding: "Several on death row need to start picking out their last meals."
Nico Hines, writing about the report, points out that Florida is the only state that allows a jury to recommend death with a simple 7-5 majority, making it that much easier to put the wrong person on death row. "One of the biggest concerns we had this year was the adoption of legislation in Florida that aims at streamlining executions," Amnesty death penalty campaigner Chiara Sangiorgio told The Daily Beast.