Florida Politician: Bring Back Firing Squads for Death Penalty

Oct 13, 2011 4:13pm

Ariane de Vogue reporting:

Sick of the “sensitivity movement for criminals” a Florida state representative has introduced legislation to limit executions in his state to either firing squad or electric chair.

State Rep. Brad Drake said in a statement posted on his website that every time a “warranted execution” is about to take place, “some man or woman is standing on a corner holding a sign, yelling and screaming for humane treatment.”

“We still have Old Sparky,” Rep. Brad Drake warned in the statement referring to electrocution. Currently , Florida allows either lethal injection or electrocution.

Drake’s legislation comes at a time when Florida is reviewing its current three drug protocol for lethal injection.  Some critics have said the method causes too much pain and suffering.

Only two states still allow death by firing squad in very limited circumstances. Oklahoma allows it if lethal injection or electrocution is ever found unconstitutional and Utah allows it only if an inmate chose it as a preferred method before 2004 when the state removed it from the options.

Mark Elliott, who runs Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, says he’s more troubled by the death penalty itself than by the method of execution.

He says every few years a politician brings up the return of the firing squad. “If this legislator wants to talk about the over 10,000 unsolved homicides in Florida, how we can better spend the $50 million we have a year to have the death penalty, or how we can better prevent innocent people from being executed, then he is saying something worth listening to.”

According to Elliott, eight states currently allow electrocution, including Florida. There have been 70 executions, and 23 exonerations, in Florida since 1976 and there are currently 398 prisoners on death row.

“It’s not surprising that this kind of talk resurfaces. The killing of a captive prisoner is inhumane no matter how it is carried out. There’s no humane way to commit an inhumane act,” Elliott argues.

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