NEW VOICES: Florida League of Women Voters Calls for Halt to Executions

The League of Women Voters of Florida is urging Governor Charlie Crist to continue the moratorium on executions and to consider alternative sentences. In a letter from Florida League President Dianne Wheatley-Giliotti to Governor Crist, the organization noted that concerns about fairness, innocence, costs, and public safety have led them to question the value of capital punishment. In their call for a moratorium, the League stated:

Dear Governor Crist:

The League of Women Voters of Florida was greatly heartened when Florida followed the lead of other states in declaring a moratorium on the death penalty.

We believe, as do many in the developed world, that the death penalty is a violation of human rights, and our state should not participate in this process.

The Florida moratorium was primarily adopted due to reports that the methods used to execute the prisoners are not humane and that individuals actually suffer during the ordeal. Other facts, however, should be considered concerning the overall efficacy of capital punishment in Florida:     First, there exists a possibility that the person sentenced to death is innocent. Too often, those executed are from poor families, under-educated, or from a minority group.

In addition, studies have shown that states without the death penalty have murder rates as low or lower than states with the death penalty.

Furthermore, other studies have shown that the death penalty does not deter criminal behavior.

Finally, studies have shown that the cost to the state for a prisoner sentenced to life imprisonment is less than the cost of a prisoner sentenced to death.

We respectfully request that you as Governor declare a permanent moratorium and make use of other sentencing methods to ensure public safety.

Sincerely,
Dianne Wheatley-Giliotti,
President

(League of Women Voters of Florida, Letter to Governor Charlie Crist, May 28, 2007). See

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Innocence

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