Governor may increase pace of executions

Published On: Dec 24 2013 10:13:59 AM EST   Updated On: Oct 07 2013 06:34:40 PM EDT

VIDEO: A number of inmates have reached the limit for appeals which could result in a high number of executions for the state.


Florida executed one inmate last week, another is scheduled for later this month and a third is set to die in November, and the increased pace of executions may be just beginning.

With 405 inmates on Florida’s death row, a report just produced to comply with a law passed by the Legislature earlier this year finds 141 of those have exhausted their appeals.

According to the Gov. Rick Scott's attorney their next step is the clemency process.

"Usually a clemency investigation will take around six months," said Pete Antonacci, the governor's legal counsel. "(This is) fair notice that the process is free to begin."

Mark Schlakman, of Florida State University's Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, handled death cases for then-Gov. Lawton Chiles in the 1990s.  He says the system can't handle a flood of new clemency cases or death warrants, and he and others are calling for a complete review of the system.

Florida’s Catholic bishops continue to call for an end to the ultimate punishment.

"I think that there is a growing recognition that a state can protect its citizens and punish its criminals -- those who perpetrate great crimes -- by resorting to use of life without the possibility of parole," said Bishop Michael Sheedy.

A total of 79 inmates have been executed since the state resumed capital punishment in 1979. Gov. Rick Scott has executed 10 inmates since taking office and has already signed death warrants for two more.

Here is a list of how many have been carried out by each governor:

GovernorExecutions  Avg. per year
Bob Graham (1979-87)162
Bob Martinez (1987-1991)92.25
Lawton Chiles (1991-1998) 182.25
Jeb Bush (1999-2007)212.6
Charlie Crist (2007-2011)51.25
Rick Scott (2001-      )103.7


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