There are conflicting opinions regarding the use of the death penalty. Additional issues are raised when it involves a person with a serious mental illness. Should there be treatment or punishment? Are they more prone to false confessions? Was there criminal intent? Did they receive any treatment for their illness? Executing juveniles and individuals with intellectual disabilities has been viewed by the Supreme Court as cruel and unusual punishment. Should those with serious mental illness also be prevented from execution?
Maria DeLiberato is the Executive Director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP), the only statewide single-issue organization dedicated to ending Florida’s death penalty. Ms. DeLiberato is also an Assistant Public Defender for the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Clearwater. Before joining the Public Defender’s Office in 2019, Ms. DeLiberato spent more than 12 years at Capital Collateral Regional Counsel – Middle Region (“CCRC-M”), a state agency dedicated to representing indigent capital defendants in their state and federal post-conviction appeals. In this role, Ms. DeLiberato handled dozens of post-conviction appeals, including litigation in federal court challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s ever-changing lethal injection protocol.