2007 is the first year in more than two decades that Florida has not executed someone. Executions were halted after a botched lethal injection last December and this month by the US Supreme Court. Some people think the political will for the ultimate penalty is diminishing.
Florida used to hang people in the county seat. Then the state took over the job in 1924 with a brand new electric chair. 196 men died in “Old Sparky” until executions were halted in the 1960's.
They resumed in 1979. But after flames erupted twice, Florida switched to lethal injections. Each step forward was supposed to be more humane.
But, Larry Spaulding of the A-C-L-U says humane and execution may not go together.
“We have now, before the United States Supreme Court, a lethal injection protocol which even veterinarians say is cruel and shouldn’t be used to euthanize our pets.”
Florida used to be one of three states that would allow execution without a unanimous jury recommendation. Now it’s the only one in the country
Larry Spaulding says Florida leads the nation in exonerations at 25. One estimate is that executions cost the state 50 million dollars a year.
“And the political value of being gung-ho about the death penalty just isn’t there anymore.”
New Jersey will soon become the first state in four decades to abandon the death penalty.
1929, 1980, 81, 82, and now 2007 are the only years Florida could have legally executed someone and did not. The New Jersey Legislature abolished Capitol Punishment after finding that it was not cost effective, not a deterrent and that error was possible.