Latest News From Florida’s Death Row

Lots of news items lately regarding Florida’s death row. So many that I’ve given them their own post. Here’s a roundup of updates, links and articles:

Bishops Challenge Increase of Death Sentences in Florida

According to Fides News Agency …The Archbishop of Miami, His Exc. Mgr. Thomas Wenski and five Bishops of Florida sent a letter to Governor Rick Scott, asking him to stop Robert Waterhouse’s execution and commute the death sentence with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. “This measure would manifest the belief in the unique dignity of each individual and the sanctity of human life. It would acknowledge God as Lord of life and be more consistent with the spirit of the Gospel,” said the letter, which is dated February 13, 2012.

Florida’s Execution Costs Re-kindle Death Penalty Debate

It took more than 30 years for Robert Waterhouse to even have a date with death, sitting on death row as taxpayers spent millions on appeals, hearings, and delays. It’s just one reason why Mark Elliott, executive director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, believes life without parole is a better, less expensive alternative. He says it’s a policy that would save Florida an estimated $51 million per year to spend on victim services programs and resources to solve some of Florida’s 12,000 homicide cold cases.

Florida Ignores ‘Unanimous Jury’ Legislation in Death Penalty Cases at its Peril

In what’s a rather surprising editorial coming from the Miami Herald (considering their policy of running headlines touting inmates as “cop-killers,” “child-killers” and the like and presenting the state’s side of the story as fact when it comes to reporting on death row inmates), FSU professor Mark Schlakman and former Florida Supreme Court justice Raoul Cantero point out the peril in Florida’s policy of allowing capital-case juries to find aggravating circumstances and recommend a death sentence by a simple majority, e.g., 7-5. All 33 other death penalty states require some form of unanimity.

Russ Lemmon: Governor Delivered on His Promise to Look into Gore Case

Columnist Russ Lemmon thinks an execution date for David Gore is long overdue, and lauds Gov. Rick Scott for putting his signature on Gore’s death warrant. Article includes video (if you can ever get it to load on the shoddy site) of Rick Scott discussing the death penalty and Gore during a meeting with the Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers editorial board.

Bill Marquart Sentenced to Death in Florida

A man convicted in a Sumter County double-murder trial wanted to get the death penalty, and Tuesday, Bill Marquardt got what he wanted. A jury convicted Marquardt in October 2011 of the 2000 murders in a bizarre trial in which he defended himself. Two death sentences were handed down Tuesday for the March 2000 shooting and stabbing deaths of Margarita Ruiz and Esperanza Wells in their Tarrytown cottage.

Marquardt has spent time in a mental hospital, sent there for mutilating animals 12 years ago in his home state of Wisconsin, where he was also accused of murdering his own mother.

Death Row Inmate Hayward Asking St. Lucie Judge For New Trial

With arms chained to his waist and legs in shackles, death row inmate Steven Douglas Hayward entered a St. Lucie County courtroom Monday hoping to convince a judge he deserves a new trial in the 2005 shooting death of Daniel DeStefano, a Fort Pierce Tribune newspaper carrier. Hayward’s attorneys are arguing he deserves a new trial due to errors his former defense attorneys committed during his 2007 trial.

Costa Rica Asks U.S. For Clemency For Tico On Death Row in Miami

This article is riddled with inaccuracies, for example there is no death row in Miami, the death row facilities are in Starke and Raiford, however the basic content is interesting in that another country is asking the U.S. to spare on of their citizens.

Letter to the Editor: Decades-Long Delays Prevent Death Penalty From Being a Deterrent

“Here’s why nobody fears the death penalty as they rob a convenience store, or rape and murder someone: Try promising one of your misbehaving children with a spanking in maybe 2020, or how about 2043 (31 years later). Obviously ridiculous, right? Well, that’s what our justice system is — ridiculous and ineffective.”

Jury Recommends Death Sentence for Gregory Larkin in 2009 FL Slayings

After convicting Gregory Larkin of first-degree murder for the April 2009 slayings of his parents, a jury ruled unanimously Friday that he should be sentenced to death. Twelve jurors concluded that the crime’s heinousness and its multiple victims formed the aggravating factors needed to impose the death penalty.

Circuit Judge Robert Foster will impose his judgment Thursday March 01, at 1 p.m.

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