By Chris Hedges, Truthdig
Murder, America’s Favorite Pastime
By Melissa E. Holsman
Condemned inmates could spend fewer years on death row and have less time for appeals under a bill being championed by state Sen. Joe Negron, which aims to speed up the death penalty appellate process.
Dubbed the “Timely Justice Act of 2013, the bill’s goal, according to Negron, R-Stuart, is to allow an inmate the opportunity to appeal a sentence of death in capital cases, but for the legal matters involved to be decided in a quicker manner than under judicial rules currently in place.
February 25, 2013 — The U.S. Court of Appeals of the 11th Circuit issued a stay for Paul Howell until the merits of his appeal can be briefed and heard.
Congratulations to his attorneys, Michael Ufferman and Sonya Rudenstine!
FAITH COMMUNITY RESPONSES TO THE DEATH PENALTY
Inspired by a suggestion and some ground work laid by Rev. Emory Hingst, several TCADP members put the finishing touches on a booklet of statements on the death penalty from approximately twenty different faiths. Nancy Smith Fichter and Robert Fichter worked to get as many statements as possible and to obtain the most current available. We printed 350 booklets and are making sure that every member of the Florida Legislature, Governor Rick Scott, and Attorney General Pam Bondi, all have a copy. Click the link to download a copy of this booklet published by TCADP as part of our lobbying effort.
If you can’t make it to this meeting then view it online.
Here’s the link for the House Broadcasts.You will have to click on the link and then scroll down to the 2 pm Criminal Justice Subcommittee around 2 p.m. It’s a live broadcast.
Please sign this petition and pass it along to others.
A petition has been created using a Move On.Org site called Sign-On.org. A group of friends from Amnesty International, Valencia College, UCF, and Peace Builders with Justice of Florida want to change the unjust Death Penalty in Florida. Poverty and race are more influential in the verdict than guilt. The Florida system is deeply flawed as shown by its high rate of exoneration: 24 men were released from Death Row when found innocent.
The TCADP Board has a lot of news to share.
1) First, we share the sad news that Governor Scott has signed another death warrant. Paul Howell is scheduled to die by lethal injection at Florida State Prison at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, February 26th. We will keep you posted with any news of appeals.
2) We are watching two bills in the Florida Legislature. Senate Bill 148, introduced by Senator Thad Altman, requires a unanimous jury for a death sentence verdict. Florida is one of only two states that do not require a unanimous decision by a jury. House Bill 4005, introduced by Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, abolishes the death penalty in Florida. Both legislators will need our help with calls and letters during the legislative session. We will let you know when action is needed.
3) The TCADP board has been hard at work on an important booklet. “The Faith Community – Responses to the Death Penalty” is a compilation of statements on the death penalty from approximately twenty different religions. It will be used in a variety of ways, but primarily to lobby the legislature. We plan to have 300 printed at an approximate cost of $1 each. As you know, we rarely ask for donations, but would greatly appreciate any contributions toward this important project. If you are able, please send any donations to: Terry Farley, TCADP Treasurer, 132 Ferndale Drive, Tallahassee 32301. Donations are not tax deductible. Any amount is appreciated.
4) Agnes Furey, TCADP board member, has recently published a book comprised of letters written by her and by Leonard Scovens, the man serving a life sentence for the murder of Agnes’s daughter and grandchild. Agnes saved Leonard Scovens from a death sentence and ultimately became his friend. “Wildflowers in the Median: A Restorative Journey into Healing, Justice, and Joy” can be purchased on Amazon and in local books stores where it has sold out several times.
Nancy and Robert Fichter will host a book signing with Agnes Furey on Sunday, February 10 at 3 p.m. at their home at 710 Waverly Road. Agnes will read from her book and her friend, Thomas Wilson, will read the part of Leonard Scovens. Light refreshments and beverages will be offered. Please put this on your calendar. We will send a reminder and details later.
and on Facebook
Louise Reid Ritchie posted this on the TCADP FaceBook pageAfter Leonard Scovens strangled her daughter and 6-year-old grandson whom Agnes Furey had helped raise, Agnes helped keep Leonard from death row and subsequently established a written and telephone relationship with him that is helping transform them and many others.
Agnes, a retired Tallahassee nurse, and Leonard, a crack addict serving a life sentence in Florida, just published a book, “Wildflowers in the Median: A restorative journey into healing justice and joy,” that contains their writing and correspondence. Agnes now is taking readings of it to the public to introduce the public to the concept of restorative justice and to help people learn about its healing power.
The readings are done by Agnes along with two actors, and are performed at no charge. The experience includes a facilitated post reading discussion . If you would be interested in hosting a reading at your home or at another location, please contact Agnes via Facebook or: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The book and production are powerful examples of the importance of restorative justice — which, while holding criminals responsible for the damage they have caused, also provides a measure of healing for them, their families and communities.
We have three important items to share.
1) Governor Rick Scott signed a death warrant for Manuel Pardo, Jr. He is scheduled to be killed on Tuesday, December 11th. Oral argument is tentatively scheduled at the Florida Supreme Court for Wednesday, December 5th. We will keep you posted.
2) John Ferguson who also had a death warrant signed by Governor Rick Scott has a federal court stay at this time. We will let you know if his status changes.
3) This month we will gather again to sign holiday cards for every person on Florida’s Death Row. For so many of these men it is the only mail they will receive all year. Nancy Smith Fichter and Robert Fichter will once again open their home to us for the card signing on Saturday, November 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sunday, November 18th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Fichters live at 710 Waverly Road. Please join us; all are welcome.
Gov. Rick Scott has signed a Death Warrant for Manuel Pardo Jr. His execution is scheduled for Tuesday, December 11 at 6pm ET. Manuel Pardo Jr. has been on Death Row for 24 years. Pardo, a former police officer, was sentenced to Death in Dade County in 1988 for nine “vigilante-style“ killings that took place in 1986. From the former Florida Commission on Capital Cases: “Pardo admitted he intentionally killed all nine of the victims because he believed them all to be drug dealers who ‘have no right to live.’”
“…have no right to live”? Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?
Please TAKE ACTION!!! Contact Governor Rick Scott and ask him to STOP SIGNING DEATH WARRANTS.
TCADP board member
© Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty 2005
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