The Florida Supreme Court has lifted the stay of execution for Mark Asay whose execution could be rescheduled at any time now.
The Court also ruled that more than 200 death sentences for those now on death row are unconstitutional and they are entitled to be resentenced. This ruling affects those sentenced to death after the Ring v Arizona decision in 2002. There are now 384 people on Florida’s Death Row.
200 death sentencing trials could cost Florida taxpayers more than $100 million. Florida taxpayers could spend more than $500,000 for each complex death sentencing phase that may or may not result in a sentence of death. Death sentencing procedures are similar to original conviction trials with a twelve member jury along with extra attorneys and experts. Not only are huge amounts of time and effort expended by the state, the costs are staggering.
Commuting these 200 death sentences to life in prison without the possibility of parole would save many millions of critically needed criminal justice dollars. These funds could be reallocated to hire and train more law enforcement officers and better protect those who protect us.
Now is the time to be both tough on crime and smart with taxpayer dollars.