TAMPA, Florida – Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP), a statewide grassroots organization working to end to the death penalty in Florida, has named Maria DeLiberato as its new executive director.
“We are pleased and excited to announce this appointment,” said Sheila Meehan, FADP Board Chair. “Maria will bring additional leadership, energy, and creativity to FADP’s work. Her love for Florida and her deep commitment to the cause of ending the death penalty are a powerful combination.”
As a capital litigation attorney for the last 16 years handling all aspects and stages of capital representation, DeLiberato has direct experience with Florida’s criminal legal system, specifically as it relates to the death penalty.
DeLiberato began her career as Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County. She prosecuted serious felony cases in the Career Criminal Unit and experienced first hand the impact of violent crime on victims and their desire for a certain outcome.
She then joined Capital Collateral Regional Counsel (“CCRC”), where she spent nearly 13 years representing individuals on Florida’s death row in their post-conviction appeals. Among the many highlights of her dedicated career was the representation of one of Florida’s death row exonerees, Clemente Aguirre. Maria helped secure freedom for Aguirre, who was exonerated after serving 14 years in custody, 10 of them on Florida’s death row. Today, Aguirre is a member of the FADP Board of Directors. While at CCRC, Maria also litigated two cases under a death warrant, so she has experienced the collateral damage that executions bring to all parties involved – victims, corrections staff, and the family members of the condemned.
Along with her professional experience, DeLiberato is a RYT 500 certified yoga instructor and has been specifically trained in trauma-informed yoga. She teaches for an organization that brings yoga to vulnerable populations, including people in the military, in substance abuse recovery, at-risk youth, and the incarcerated.
FADP Board Member and Legal Chair Masimba Mutamba said the nonprofit is fortunate to have such a well-qualified leader taking the reins. “Maria is an extraordinary person, advocate, and leader. She is intimately familiar with the history of Florida’s death penalty and understands as well as anyone how it fails all measures of justice.”
Noting DeLiberato’s work as a former assistant state attorney, Mutamba said her deep appreciation of the devastating impact of violence on families and communities was important to the Board, which includes individuals who have been directly impacted by violence. “Maria understands how the death penalty adds more layers of harm and creates unnecessary roadblocks on the path to healing.”
For her part, DeLiberato is ready to get started. “I am incredibly honored and excited to serve as FADP’s new executive director. FADP has played a vital role in exposing the failures of the death penalty and has always done so with a sincere desire to use its platform to advance its vision of a justice system that centers around healing and restoration for everyone involved. At this remarkable moment of opportunity, with the death penalty in steep decline across the nation, I look forward to working with our board, staff, and members to not only continue our advocacy but to expand it.“
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP) is a statewide grassroots organization working to end to the death penalty in Florida. Our network includes more than 100 state and local groups and thousands of individual Floridians, including murder victims’ family members and other survivors of violent crime, law enforcement professionals, families of the incarcerated, and death row exonerees.