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Florida death penalty opponent lists reasons

By Chris Tisch, Times Staff Writer
In print: Monday, July 7, 2008

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STARKE — Whenever Florida executes a death row inmate, a group of people stand outside Florida State Prison in protest. Among the protesters: members of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, a volunteer group led by Clearwater resident Mark Elliott. "I've never been a fan of unnecessary killing," says Elliott, who became involved with the group about five years ago and became its executive director two years ago. Elliott works as a property manager, but says he spends about 40 hours a week doing work for the group, which has about 2,000 subscribers to its newsletter. The Times asked Elliott why he opposes the death penalty. His responses:

"It's unnecessary. In Florida, we have the alternative of life in prison without the possibility of parole. This amounts to a death sentence that is carried out immediately. There is no wait for justice."

"The risk of executing the innocent. Florida has exonerated at least 22 people off death row."

"It diverts millions of dollars from helping victims' families and law enforcement. It costs Florida $50-million a year to have the death penalty on the books."

"It is racist. In the entire history of our state, there has never been a white person executed for the killing of an African-American. That actually goes back to 1786."

"No government on earth should decide who lives and who dies. According to Amnesty International, China, Iran, Pakistan, the Sudan, Iraq and the United States account for almost all the world's executions."

• For more information on Elliott's group, visit

[Last modified: Jul 08, 2008 11:58 PM]

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Comments on this article
by Bill #1 Jul 8, 2008 11:58 PM
Just remember the Death Penalty Information Center is FIRST, LAST, AND ONLY an Anti-death Penalty Site & organization. Example of deliberate errors in information --Tim McVeigh -he was executed for 8 murders not 168 !
by Hop Jul 8, 2008 9:44 PM
We all seem to agree that the justice system sometimes makes mistakes. Sometimes the guilty are not convicted and sometimes the innocent are convicted. That is why we have no business killing locked-up prisoners.
by Bill #1 Jul 8, 2008 7:30 PM
I've done my homework. The real reason for the high cost is ONLY because of multiple appeals despite State & Federal laws limiting appeals which are ignored. Trial lawyers underpaid, appeal lawyers overpaid. Going rate for appeals $550 per hour.
by James Jul 8, 2008 5:37 PM
For those who think it costs less to put someone to death you need to do your homework before you spout off at the mouth. Life in prison is far cheaper than executing someone.
by Bill #1 Jul 8, 2008 1:25 PM
Just for the record I am the "Bill" with 4 posts before this --9:52; 12:15; 12:15; 11:47; 11:34
by Hop Jul 8, 2008 1:25 PM
Check the Death Penalty Information Center, for info in exonerated prisoners. The system makes mistakes. How many is too many? If we execute even one innocent person, what does it say about us?
by Tina Jul 8, 2008 1:24 PM
I really wonder why the paper allows lies to be published without making corrections. "22 exonerated" is untrue. With one exception, these are technicalities remanded, NOT exonerations. And most "innocence" clients are habitual offenders.
by Bill Jul 7, 2008 9:52 PM
PS America: The "technicalities", before you comment like you did you need to read the court cases. One individual who was released on a so-called "technicality" was released and has committed at least 7 other murders. Watch for his trial on the Fall
by jb Jul 7, 2008 8:24 PM
kill them all,let God sort them out,boo hoo,bleeding hearts,just think how this world would be if the Victims,were still alive,(victims and there families have no rights)
by Hop Jul 7, 2008 6:35 PM
With permanent imprisonment (which is much, much cheaper), if we find out that the wrong person was convicted, we can free them and try to give them some of their life back. Remember Alan Crotzer and all the others?
by Nathan Jul 7, 2008 6:28 PM
Yes to add to this it costs us .8mil dollars per maximum security prison every fourty years howver becuase of the cost of legalitiy it costs 23.4mil per person executed. Its unecocomic and very flawed in conviction of innocent people I am aRpublican2
by Adam Jul 7, 2008 5:19 PM
"Execution guarantees that the murderer will not ever, ever, ever kill again." That's assuming you're not killing the wrong person.
by jen Jul 7, 2008 5:12 PM
I agree completely with Mr. Elliott. How many innocent people have been executed? Didn't they free over 100 people sentenced to die in Illinois after DNA exoneration. There are huge implementation issues: race, mental disability, economic status..
by america Jul 7, 2008 5:12 PM
PS bill: regarding "technicalities"; we have those "technicalities" for a reason. it is because we live in a country where we'd rather see a guilty man go free than punish an innocent man due to bad processes. it's harsh, but it's true.
by Ron Jul 7, 2008 5:03 PM
It is high time that we reach a higher level of intelligence, recognizing that killing people who killed people to teach our children that killing is, yes, ludicrous.
by Bill Jul 7, 2008 12:15 PM
" racist " " never been a white person ..." -- Maybe so, but two things; Florida was not a state in 1786, and the records only go back to 1828. How do I know, I maintain a database of executions in the US, going back to the 1600's.
by Tina Jul 7, 2008 12:15 PM
If you are against unnecessary killimg, how do you justify what these murderers did? How do you justify them getting free room, board, amenities, etc? How do you justify them getting to see their family and friends when their victims can't?
by Bill Jul 7, 2008 12:15 PM
"Who so sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God made He man." ---- God
by Bucky Jul 7, 2008 12:15 PM
It's to bad that the victims can't give their point of view on the subject.
by Frank Jul 7, 2008 12:14 PM
For the bleeding hearts out there: Execution guarantees that the murderer will not ever, ever, ever kill again.
by Bob Jul 7, 2008 12:14 PM
"Unecessary Killing" he says. I guess you could say the same thing when theses murderes kill their victims. No one said that life and death were perfect. What does race have to do with it. ALL murderes should be the recipient of the death penalty.
by GR Jul 7, 2008 12:14 PM
except for point #5, the first four points all have to do with the WAY the death penalty is carried out in our country. personally, i have no philosophical objection to it, but the process needs to be improved.
by Bill Jul 7, 2008 11:47 AM
Saved the best for last! "No government on earth should decide who lives and who dies." Then why do you want the governmant to stop executing people, if no governmat should decide?
by Britt Jul 7, 2008 11:33 AM
People like this man make me GLAD we DO have the Death Penalty still.I just think it should hurt MORE.The monsters on death Row didnt give their victims a chance at life, FRY THEM!
by bill Jul 7, 2008 11:33 AM
this is not a ragist thing, as if, a white kills a black he would deserve the death penalty. the reason for the cost is, its too long between guilty to the sentence being carried out. death also to child sexual battery.
by mo Jul 7, 2008 11:33 AM
your a moron i agree we should notletthese killers sit in are prison system wasteing tax payers money if you rape and killed a child then you should be raped and killed to....and giving them a steak dinner the night before is a waste of tax payers mo
by ja Jul 7, 2008 11:33 AM
Why should tax payers support a murderer in jail for life? I say an eye for an eye....The prisons are over crowded as it is.
by Tom Jul 7, 2008 11:33 AM
With 400 people on death row, we should have replaced the electric chair with electric bleachers instead of lethal injection.
by mark Jul 7, 2008 11:33 AM
in order - I shouldnt have to pay to keep a killer alive. False convictions are very unlikely with today's technology. It costs much more to keep the scum alive on DR. If you are convicted of 1st degree murder you should die. black, white or
by John Jul 7, 2008 11:33 AM
"It is racist. In the entire history of our state, there has never been a white person executed for the killing of an African-American." How is that "racist"? A jury of the defendant's peers make the decision. Let me guess, Mr. Elliott is black?
by Rick Jul 7, 2008 11:32 AM
I know it's hard to do, especially after a particularly heinous crime; but life/no parole/and no perks at all for at least five years to start--is a sow death. No contact. No snacks. No-books. Nothing. They'll beg for death. Refuse it. No eye for eye
by katie Jul 7, 2008 11:32 AM
Mr Elliott, are you willing to pay the expenses and support of the people on life sentences in jail?
by Scott Jul 7, 2008 11:32 AM
Wow! That really makes all clear... NOT!
by Donald Jul 7, 2008 11:32 AM
I agree.
by Carol Jul 7, 2008 11:32 AM
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