Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dying on Death Row

Capital News Service reports on the aging death row population in Florida.

Inmates on Florida’s Death Row have an equal chance of dying from old age as they do from lethal injection. Since 1993, 74 death row inmates have gone to their maker, but only half of them died from execution.

Florida has four death row inmates over age 70. William Cruse, who opened fire in a grocery store, is 82. 54 others sentenced to death have already turned 60.

Some have been on death row more than three decades. Larry Spalding used to run the agency credited with keeping many of them alive and he says those with a lengthy stay will likely never be executed.

“They really have all but gone insane,” Spalding said. “Those cases are being resolved the way that live without parole is being resolved, they will die in prison.

Since 1993, Florida has executed 37 people. But just as many death row inmates have died of other causes.

Frank Valdez died at the hands of guards. The other 36 from bad health.

Prosecutors are livid.

“In my opinion, the governor ought to sit down and sign about 60 or 70 of them today,” Meggs said. “And let’s get started and do a couple a week, until we get caught up.”

But those who have fought the state and won say the backlog will never be cleared.

“Even if you got serious about the death penalty and we started executing one or two a month, you’d still never catch up,” Spalding said.

And even prosecutor Meggs concedes the way the death penalty is applied now makes it “totally Ineffective.”

At least one of the 37 who died from cancer on death row was posthumously exonerated by DNA after spending more than 15 years facing death.

Wow, what a mess! Mr. Meggs sounds like a swell guy. He wants to "do a couple a week till they get caught up."

What's your opinion? What should be done about the death penalty?


  1. That IS their sentence. Letting them die of old age in the slam is a miscarriage of justice.

    Let's roll up our sleeves and get the job done.

  2. A reservation I have about the death penalty is certainly the fear of wrongful conviction. What a travesty when an innocent person goes to death row for life --or to death.

    I love the Law and Orderseries for showing that some evil people are REALLY evil and deserve to die. On the other hand, the series Raising the Bar which I also am a fan of, shows the defense side and cultivates compassion for the accused, right or wrong.

    A humane society is rightly compassionate --but when an old gink buries a child alive --or tortures someone --or imprisons his daughter as a sex slave and makes her bear her own brothers and sisters --I do think that torture and death are appropriate just so they'd know what that feels like! But I wouldn't really want the responsibility of carrying out such justice or being the judge! I suppose some would say such people probably DID receive abuse as kids and are thus evil as a result. Or maybe they are just psychopaths whose parents never taught them otherwise, never cultivated their consciences.

  3. Here's onther person that will most likely die in prison.,2933,575590,00.html?test=latestnews

    The world will be a better place once she's under the dirt.

  4. kaveman, Thanks for the link to that uplifting story.

    I racked my brains for a way to blame it on the gun owners, but just couldn't figure a way.

  5. Certainly an example that guns don't make people murderous. She's an example of an unstable, fatherless home, sounds like.

    Mike, I think your campaign against guns is futile; better subject would be a campaign such as focus on the Family has --the importance of marriage and parenting, fidelity, respect for the right to life, etc.

  6. Barb said, "I think your campaign against guns is futile."

    Well, first of all it's not really a "campaign against guns."

    And secondly, I don't think it's futile at all. There have even been a few half-reluctant admissions around here that I have a good point from time to time. Imagine how many lurkers there are in total agreement with me but who are hesitant to enter the fray. You can't blame them given the viciousness of some of the gun guys.

  7. Well, liberals and pacifists can be pretty vicious themselves, you know.