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Eighth Amendment
Category archives for: Eighth Amendment

Replacing Salisbury Steak With Sardines, Florida Prisons’ Kosher Option Raises Hackles

| April 11, 2014

Inmates contend that the peanut butter, sardines and cabbage served up daily by the Florida Department of Corrections are designed to discourage them from signing up for the kosher meals or to punish inmates if they do, and that the chow is far from what a federal judge had in mind last year when she ordered the state to start serving kosher meals to inmates.

Life Without Parole for Juveniles: Florida Struggles to Comply With Supreme Court Ruling

| March 6, 2014

Florida sentences more juveniles to life in prison without parole than any other state, but the pressure is on the Legislature this year to comply with restrictive U.S. Supreme Court rulings because without sentencing guidelines, the Florida judiciary is filling the gap one case at a time.

Convicted in Trooper’s Murder, Paul Howell Is Executed, Gov. Scott’s 15th

| February 27, 2014

Howell was convicted in 1994 in the 1992 murder of Florida Highway Patrol trooper Jimmy Fulford in 1992 when a bomb Howell manufactured exploded in the trooper’s hands after a traffic stop.

Grim Reaping: Gov. Rick Scott Now Florida’s Record Holder For Most 1st Term Executions

| February 20, 2014

Juan Carlos Chavez’s execution last week was the 13th on Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s watch — a record among first-term Florida governors since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, and a record Scottt is smashing with yet more death warrants he is signing in his fourth year.

With 132 Death Row Inmates Readied for Execution, Lawyers Contest Fast-Track Law Before Florida Justices

| February 4, 2014

More than 150 lawyers and Death Row inmates are challenging the so-called Timely Justice Act, signed by Gov. Rick Scott in June, intended to speed up executions. Lawyers argue it violates the constitutionally protected separation of powers as well as inmates’ rights to due process.

Death Penalty’s Latest Mutation:
Experimenting on Human Beings

| January 28, 2014

The decision to seek the death penalty simply can’t be justified either by society’s or individuals’ desire for revenge, argues Steve Robinson. Were that the case, we could issue baseball bats to family members and let them beat the convict to death in the town square.

Rarely Punished, Guards May Be Responsible for Half of Sexual Assaults in Prisons and Jails

| January 25, 2014

The federal report is based on data from all of the nation’s federal and state prisons as well as many county jails. It shows more than 8,000 reports of abuse each year between 2009 and 2011, up 11 percent from the previous report, and extremely rare prosecutions.

Askari Muhammad Is Executed After 38 Years on Death Row and Numerous Legal Bungles

| January 8, 2014

Muhammad was sentenced to death in 1975 for the murder in July 1974 of Sydney and Lillian Gans near Miami, and, after that sentencing was thrown out, sentenced to death for the murder of prison guard James Burke in 1980. He is the 13th individual executed on Gov. Rick Scott’s watch since 2011.

Scott Signs 14th Death Warrant: Juan Carlos Chavez, Murderer of 9-Year-Old Jimmy Ryce

| January 2, 2014

Juan Carlos Chavez, will be executed on Feb. 12. Scott’s order comes less than a year after the death of Martha Ryce, who dedicated her life to advocate for missing children after the murder of her brother. Martha Ryce, considered the voice of her family, committed suicide on December 30th in Atlanta. She was 35.

Florida Supreme Court Stays Execution, Raising Questions About Cruelty of Lethal Injection Cocktail

| November 19, 2013

A 5-2 Florida Supreme Court vote put the execution of convicted murderer Askari Abdullah Muhammad on hold Monday to consider claims that the three-drug cocktail used to put inmates to death could cause unnecessary suffering.

Darius Kimbrough, 19 Years on Death Row for Murder of Denise Collins, Is Executed This Evening

| November 12, 2013

Darius Kimbrough, who raped, beat and murdered 28-year-old Denise Collins in her Orlando apartment in 1991, is being executed by lethal injection at Florida’s Starke prison at 6 p.m. Tuesday, after 19 years on death row. He is being killed on his mother’s birthday. He becomes the fifth inmate executed in Florida this year.

Fast-Tracking Executions Proves Slower than Expected Under “Timely Justice Act”

| October 7, 2013

The new law designed to fast-track executions in Florida, called the Timely Justice Act, will not spark a flurry of executions after all even as 132 convicts have been certified as being partially “warrant ready” to be killed, perhaps dashing some lawmakers’ expectations.

Only in Florida: Attorney General Bondi Reschedules Execution to Avoid Conflict With Her Fundraiser

| September 10, 2013

Marshall Lee Gore was to be executed the evening of Sept. 10 until Attorney General Bondi rescheduled the killing so it wouldn’t conflict with her “campaign kickoff” fundraiser in Tampa. She now says she shouldn’t have done that.

After Two Stays, Supreme Court Clears Marshall Lee Gore For Year’s Fourth Execution

| August 13, 2013

Rejecting arguments that he should avoid lethal injection because he is insane, the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday approved the execution of Marshall lee Gore, convicted of killing two women in 1988 in Miami-Dade and Columbia counties.

Stand Your Ground Special Session: Florida Democrats Invoke Unique Tactic in Hunt for Votes

| August 12, 2013

Vastly outnumbered Democrats have a week to convince enough Republicans lawmakers to support a special session of the Legislature on the Stand Your Ground law. The Secretary of State’s office has to find 96 lawmakers to trigger such a session.

Eric Holder Takes on the “War on Drugs,” Mandatory Sentences and Epidemic Imprisonment Rates

| August 12, 2013

Attorney general Eric Holder on Monday delivered a seminal speech outlining a plan to revamp federal drug policy and incarceration rates of non-violent and elderly offenders, and urging Congress to review mandatory sentencing in light of a “war on drugs” that has not worked. The full speech.

Cabinet Passes, for Now, on Pardoning Marissa Alexander, Pending Stand Your Ground Appeal

| August 7, 2013

Alexander, a 32-year-old mother of three, was sentenced to 20 years in prison last year after firing a shot into a wall during a dispute with her abusive husband, a case that stands in sharp contrast with George Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict after he shot and killed an unarmed teen.

It Ain’t Texas: Florida Supreme Court Reverses Two Death Sentences, Citing Mental Issues

| July 5, 2013

In two separate decisions that illustrate the fallibility of death sentences, the Florida Supreme Court this week overturned the death sentences of Michael Shellito, 37, and Ralston Davis, 28, ruling in both cases that the murderers’ mental state at the time of the killings should have played a larger role in theirs sentences.

Supreme Court Denies Gregory’s Death-Penalty Appeal for 2007 Murders in Flagler Beach

| June 30, 2013

William Gregory, now 30, was sentenced to death in 2011, for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Skyler Dawn Meekins, then 17, and her boyfriend Daniel Arthur Dyer, then 22, as they slept, and Skyler’s 1-year-old daughter was in a nearby room.

Emergency Lawsuit Charges Law Fast-Tracking Death Row Inmates Is Unconstitutional

| June 27, 2013

The suit alleges that the law, which goes in effect July 1, would violate the separation of powers by imposing obligations on lawyers that conflict with judicially-determined rules, and that it would alter the court’s authority to govern capital post-conviction litigation and would violate due process and equal protection.

The Cruel and Unusual Justice Thomas

| June 19, 2013

The cruelties of the self-loathing, self-pitying Clarence Thomas were on display again this week when he provided the deciding vote that had the Supreme Court managing to turn the right to remain silent against the accused, and using that silence as evidence of incrimination.

Scott Signs Fast-Track Execution Bill, Making 13 Death Row Inmates Immediately Eligible

| June 15, 2013

In signing the so-called “Timely Justice Act,” Scott went against the tide of calls, letters and emails urging him to veto it. As of Thursday, his office had received 447 phone calls, with 438 opposed to the bill; 14 letters, with 13 opposed; and 14,571 emails, with 14,565 opposed.

Van Poyck, Third Florida Inmate Executed This Year, Leaves Stark Word Trail Behind

| June 13, 2013

William van Poyck had spent nearly 26 years on death row after his conviction in 1987 in the murder of a prison guard. He spent many of those years writing books and maintaining a public blog, which chronicled in the last weeks his last days on death row. Excerpts are included.

Elmer Carroll To Be Killed at 6 p.m. as Stay Is Denied; Exonerated Men Will Deliver Petition to Scott

| May 29, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday denied the last appeal by Elmer Leon Carroll to stay his execution, On Thursday, Herman Lindsey and Seth Penalver – the 23rd and 24th men exonerated from Florida’s Death Row – will deliver a letter to Gov. Rick Scott, asking him to veto the Timely Justice Act, which will fast-track executions.

Fast-Track Kill Bill Aside, Scott Speeds Death Warrants, Slating 3 Executions in 26 Days

| May 14, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott is not waiting to sign a bill that would accelerate the pace of capital-punishment executions in Florida. The death warrants he’s signed since April lead to the fastest-paced series of executions since four inmates were killed in March 1998, when Lawton Chiles was governor.

Bill Speeding Up Executions in Florida Passes Despite Disturbing Rate of Exonerations

| April 30, 2013

Florida lawmakers gave final approval to fast-tracking executions and reducing Death Row stays, with supporters saying they want justice for victims’ families — but critics warning about executing innocent people, 24 of whom have been exonerated in Florida since 1976.

Duping Court Ruling, Florida Replacing Life Juvenile Sentencing With 50-Year Minimum

| April 17, 2013

Legislation aimed at putting Florida in line with a U.S. Supreme Court ban on automatic life sentences for juvenile murderers cleared a House panel Tuesday, but with a 50 year minimum sentence that opponents say may keep the state’s law at odds with the court’s aim.

Invitation to an Execution

| April 10, 2013

Larry Eugene Mann was executed at Starke state prison Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. by lethal injection. I traveled to Starke with a Catholic Church group to witness the vigils–pro and con–outside the prison grounds.

Exonerated Death Row Inmates Tell Flagler Beach Group of an Enduring Florida Injustice

| March 23, 2013

In turns moving, startling and informative, a day-long workshop on the death penalty in Flagler Beach, featuring two exonerated men, urged an assembly of 60 to more actively get involved in a movement to abolish capital punishment in Florida.

The Death Penalty Comes to Flagler Beach: Saturday Workshop Takes On “Broken System”

| March 19, 2013

The workshop between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, March 23, at Santa Maria Del Mar’s Community Hall, will feature former death row inmates Herman Lindsey (exonerated in 2006) and Seth Penalver (2012), along with several other death penalty experts and advocates for the repeal of Florida’s capital punishment.

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