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Terri Schiavo Case
4 Judges -- Florida
ABA Report Finds Serious Problems in
Florida's Capital Punishment System
the Supreme Court of Florida
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J.A.I.L. for Judges files suit Against the Florida Bar To Enjoin
Mother Challenges Florida Family Court Policy That Punishes
Parents for Seeking to Enforce Child Visitation and Then
Denies Appellate Review of the Punishment
It's hard to
get justice from our judges and juries
Land O'Lakes in Letter to Editor
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Terri Schiavo Case
Judges Tortured, Murdered
By: Gordon Bishop
life a right or is it a privilege
granted by the government?
By: Charles W. Heckman, Dr. Sci.
Terri Schiavo Aftermath
Terri Schiavo Archives
The Hanging Judges
Hanging Judges Archives
Florida J.A.I.L. 4 Judges
When J.A.I.L. becomes law, corrupt
» Be subject to civil suit!
» Be subject to removal from the bench!
» Be subject to criminal prosecution!
» Be subject to serve time in prison!
State Chapter Director, Nancy Grant
Report Finds Serious
Problems in Florida's Capital Punishment System
A new report issued by the
American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Moratorium
Implementation Project found that Florida’s application
of the death penalty fails to comply with ABA standards
to ensure fairness and accuracy. This report was
compiled by an eight-member team composed of criminal
justice experts from Florida.
The report cites problems
in numerous areas, including:
Florida has exonerated twenty-two death row inmates
since the reinstatement of the death penalty in
1973, more than any other state.
Counsel for the defense in capital cases are not
adequately compensated. Florida has a statutory fee
cap of $3500 for death penalty conflict trial
counsel. Additionally, Capital Collateral Registry
attorneys have a fee cap, which covers roughly 840
hours of work, even though it is estimated that
capital cases will average 3,300 hours of work.
report found that there is little or no oversight of
registry counsel, which leads to a lack of
accountability. Florida requires only minimal trial
and appellate experience for registry attorneys to
be appointed to a capital case.
In a separate study, 48.7% of jurors sitting on
capital cases in Florida erroneously thought that
the defense must prove mitigating factors beyond a
reasonable doubt. Of these same jurors, 36%
incorrectly believed that they were required to
sentence the defendant to death if they found the
defendant’s conduct to be heinous, vile or depraved.
Juror decisions in capital cases do not need to be
unanimous. In the United States, Florida alone
allows a jury to find that aggravators exsist and to
recommend a sentence of death without being
From 1972 to 1999, 166 of the 857 death sentences in
Florida were imposed by judges over the
recommendation of life sentences by the jury.
defendant in a capital case is 3.4 times more likely
to receive the death penalty if the victim is white
than if the victim is African-American. Since 1973,
no white defendant has been executed for killing an
The report also makes
recommendations for improving the administration of the
death penalty, including:
report recommends the creation of two independent
commissions. The first commission would establish
the cause of wrongful convictions in capital cases
and recommend changes to prevent future wrongful
convictions. The second commission would review
claims of innocence from those sitting on death row.
By allowing judges the ability to determine
case-by-case the correct payment, attorneys would be
better compensated for their time.
report recommends that Florida attorney standards be
consistent with the ABA Guidelines for the
Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in
Death Penalty Cases.
By redrafting the instructions, Florida can address
some of the issues that jurors are unclear about.
Florida should require a jury’s sentencing verdict
in capital cases to be unanimous.
Judicial override of jury recommendations for life
sentences should be eliminated.
criminal justice system should commission a report
on the racial disparities in the application of the
death penalty and recommend ways to reduce those
Executive Summary or Full Report of the ABA’s
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current member of the Florida Bar
the Supreme Court of Florida -- 2008
It's hard to get justice from our judges and juries
Letters to the Editor, St.
On May 2,
guest columnist Steve Rushing wrote that
"Our jury system is the best, but it could be even better."
My first question is how does he know it is the best? Has he
experienced all other countries' legal systems?
I have recently
started representing myself in court. I have grown tired of the
other side's lawyers lying about me and personally insulting me in
court, and my lawyer letting them get away with it.
Lawyers do that
because they can't win the case on the legal merits, and their only
option is character assassination or "unfair prejudice."
It is no joke
when people ask if you want to be judged by people who aren't smart
enough to get out of jury duty.
By the time you
excuse all the prospective jurors with preformed opinions, typically
you have gotten rid of the intelligent individuals.
The goal is then
to take these blank slates and imprint your version of events upon
them. The No. 1 problem with our legal system is judicial
discretion. That is the latitude judges have to make subjective
Although you may
have a jury trial, the judge can still keep you from trying your
case. He can do this by not allowing you to ask each prospective
juror the same question, so that you can evaluate each prospective
juror's reaction and answer.
Also, a judge
can object to your testimony, so that you can't tell the jury your
side of the story. Judges can object to you entering your exhibits,
such as affidavits and transcripts of depositions, into evidence in
civil trials, and then he will allow the opposing lawyer to enter
his. Basically, a judge can sabotage your case by sustaining the
other side's objections and overruling your objections. Judges can
even not allow your witnesses to testify.
I have been
treated unjustly in court, because a judge has been in a hurry. But
jurors can also be in a hurry to go home. I told my jurors they
could find the truth if they would just read one witness's
deposition. It would have taken them two hours to read the
deposition. The jury came back in less than an hour with a verdict
against me. Apparently, they weren't interested in the truth.
-- J.D. Wright,