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Florida Handing Down Fewer Death Sentences


Despite a reputation for being hard line, Florida has reached an 11-year low in the number of death sentences handed down, according to a new report.

This year’s nine new death sentences in Florida marks a three-year decline, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. And it shouldn’t be surprising since the number of executions in the country is at a 25-year low.

Mark Elliott, executive director of Floridians Against the Death Penalty, says attitudes are changing as executions take longer and cost more to carry out.

“And all these millions are on death row, we spend it trying to kill persons who are going to die in prison anyway. It’s just totally unnecessary and it puts blood on our hands.”

The most death sentences handed down in a single year in Florida was 45, in 1991. Gov. Rick Scott broke the record for most executions of any Florida governor earlier this year with 22.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.