Letters to the Editor

End the death penalty

The FBI and Justice Department have pledged to review more criminal cases that may have involved flawed and erroneous evidence and testimony by FBI experts. (FBI analysts gave flawed testimony, April 20).

That 95 percent of the cases studied thus far had fundamentally flawed and erroneous testimony and that the highest number of these cases that resulted in death sentences were in Florida, calls for more than a review. It calls for termination of the death penalty.

Florida, after all, is the state with by far the most exonerations of those wrongfully convicted, sent to Death Row and later released — 25 so far and some after 10 to 20 years of trying to prove their innocence.

Even with all these mistakes, trying to execute already-locked-up prisoners costs Florida taxpayers an estimated $1 million a week over and above the cost of sentencing the same people to life in prison without the possibility of parole. There are much better ways to spend these millions to protect Florida families and help those affected by violent crime. We can put down the needle, go get the handcuffs and solve some of the more than 14,000 unsolved Florida homicides. We can fund proven, effective crime-prevention programs. We can help families of murder victims with immediate needs to improve their shattered lives.

It’s time to end Florida’s fatally flawed and hugely expensive program for killing prisoners.

Mark Elliott, executive director, Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Tampa