Justice system fails on many fronts

By Gerald Kogan, Special to the Times

Published Monday, June 30, 2008

In April, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the method of lethal injection utilized by Florida, among other states, does not violate the Constitution’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

That should not be the end of the conversation.

Reasonable men and women of all political affiliations, faiths, and professional backgrounds have disagreed for decades about the morality of executing those who commit heinous crimes. As a former prosecutor, defense attorney, trial judge and chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court, I have been involved in 1,200 capital cases and can personally attest to the complexity and uncertainty of that debate. Remarkably, the same individuals who agree on little else are beginning to find one piece of common ground: the belief that Florida’s system of capital punishment is broken. Continue reading ‘Justice system fails on many fronts’ »

The annual meeting of TCADP

Death Penalty bell.jpg

Photograph by Louise Ritchie

David Menschel and Juvais Harrington hold the bell that is rung outside Florida State Prison at the time of each execution.  The sound can be heard for almost a mile.  Mark Elliott, of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, (left in photo) explains the history of the bell to those attending the Annual Meeting of TCADP.

Annual meeting

Dear Friends,

This is a reminder that we will hold the Annual Meeting of the Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty on Tuesday evening, May 20th at 7:00 p.m. in the Westminster Room of First Presbyterian Church on Adams and Park.

Elections will be held and there will be a brief presentation by Jeanne Rewa of Equal Justice Works and Mark Elliott of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.  They will discuss plans for organizing efforts in North Florida.

Along with the ACLU, we are presenting “Freedom to Live,” a 30 minute film of compelling stories of people personally affected by America’s capital punishment system.  The film offers a unique window into its unfairness and inhumanity. “Freedom to Live” also demonstrates that when people get involved, lives can be saved.

As of today, Saturday, there is no word on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the possible execution of Mark Schwab.  We will keep you posted.

Sheila Meehan
Chair, TCADP

TCADP annual meeting

Dear Friends,

TCADP will hold our annual meeting on Tuesday, May 20th at 7:00 p.m. in the Westminster Room of First Presbyterian Church.

We will have a little time for refreshments and socializing followed by a report on what has taken place during this year. We’ll hold elections and then view a 30 minute film on the death penalty from the ACLU Freedom Files called “Freedom to Live.”
Continue reading ‘TCADP annual meeting’ »

Seeing is Not Believing: Race, Innocence and Eyewitness Misidentification

Dear Friends,
Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty is sponsoring an important panel discussion.
Seeing is Not Believing: Race, Innocence and Eyewitness Misidentification
ALAN CROTZER — spent 24 1/2 years in Florida prisons for a crime he did not commit due to eyewitness misidentification.
SETH MILLER — Executive Director, Innocence Project of Florida
DR. PATRICIA YVONNE WARREN — Asst. Professor, College of Criminology & Criminal Justice, FSU
JUVAIS HARRINGTON — Moderator, Minister and TCADP Board Member

Tuesday, April 29th @ 7:00 p.m.
Presbyterian Center of Florida State University
548 West Park Avenue
(near Park and Copeland)

Sheila Meehan, Chair


April 16, 2008 — Today the U. S. Supreme Court voted 7 – 2 to reject the latest challenge to capital punishment. The issue at hand was not the death penalty itself, but the legality of the methods used to kill people. I am reminded of former Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun’s words written shortly before his retirement: “The death penalty experiment has failed. From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.” Clearly, that is all the Court was doing. Until they take up the real question of the death penalty, it will all just be tinkering. Continue reading ‘TINKERING WITH THE MACHINERY OF DEATH’ »