A review of capital punishment in Florida, as recommended by the Florida Bar, is all well and good, but we know right now that the best approach to the death penalty is to abolish it. No system of justice can avoid mistakes — as Florida’s 24 capital exonerations show. Speeding up appeals, as recommended by Rep. Matt Gaetz, would only exacerbate this.
Decades of studies have shown that the death penalty is more costly and not a greater deterrent to murder than Florida’s only other possible sentence for first-degree murder — life in prison without parole. It has also been shown to carry the taint of racial bias.
Every decent person feels the tragedy of murder. But instead of the government having the life or death power over Floridians, let it spend our tax dollars in ways that will actually reduce homicide, and protect human rights.
Steven Wetstein, Amnesty International, Miami