On August 3rd, the State of Florida will conduct its fifth execution of 2023, and its tenth state-assisted suicide, with the execution of “volunteer” James Barnes. James was serving a life sentence when he confessed to the murder of Patricia “Patsy” Miller.
James pled guilty, represented himself, waived a jury recommendation, and refused to introduce mitigation, sealing his death sentence. Once his warrant was signed, he waived all final challenges and asked for his execution to proceed. The Court granted his wish, without even bothering to conduct a single mental health evaluation.
Our friends at Catholic Mobilizing Network aptly said that by “sentencing James to death, the state of Florida has told him that his life is not worth living — and by dropping his appeals, it seems as though he now believes the state is right.”
Yesterday, The Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops sent a letter to Governor DeSantis urging him to stay the execution: “Mr. Barnes’ willing acceptance of death, the punishment put in place by the justice system, does not absolve the state from bringing it about. Simply put, no one should be executed in our modern penal system, even if they willingly accept it.”
You can still fight for James. You can still say Not In My Name. We have gathered thousands of signatures on the petition to Governor DeSantis and the Florida Board of Executive Clemency. Add your name to the list we send to them ahead of the execution and urge them to commute James’ sentence to life without the possibility of parole.
We are also gathering signatures from faith leaders around the world urging the same. Add your name to the letter and share it with your faith communities today.
Florida’s 23rd death row exoneree and FADP Board Vice Chair Herman Lindsey will be at Florida State Prison across from the Death Chamber beginning at 5 pm on August 3 for our vigil and peaceful protest. Join us there, in-person across the state, or virtually ahead of and during the scheduled execution.
Thank you for standing with us, with James, and with the other people on Florida’s death row over and over again. It matters.
FADP Executive Director
P.S. Thanks to you, we have raised over $5,000 toward our fundraising goal of $19,341. Please consider a contribution today of $5, $50, or $500 for the five warrants signed in Florida this year.