As Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As an organization dedicated to ending the death penalty in Florida, we can and we will support other warriors in this fight.
This Thursday, the State of Alabama plans to execute Kenneth Eugene Smith (who has already once survived a botched execution attempt) using a novel, untested, and dangerous method of execution – a method so risky that his spiritual advisor had to sign a waiver acknowledging that he could possibly die from accidental exposure to the lethal gas. Let me say that again – in order for Mr. Smith to have the comfort of his spiritual advisor at the time of his death, his spiritual advisor (and other witnesses) must acknowledge the prospect of their death or serious injury.
Why does this matter to us in Florida? A couple of reasons. First, Alabama shares the shameful distinction with Florida in that it is one of the only two states that allows a jury to sentence a defendant to death non-unanimously, though Alabama requires 10 jurors. In Mr. Smith’s case, 11 jurors voted for life imprisonment without parole, a judge overrode the decision and sentenced him to death. While both Alabama and Florida have since gotten rid of judicial override, they did not do so retroactively, which is why Mr. Smith is still facing execution.
Second, as I mentioned above, it is important for us in Florida to speak out against injustice anywhere – so that we can one day achieve justice for all, everywhere. And so we ask you now to join the effort to save Mr. Smith’s life by signing this petition and urging Governor Ivy to intervene and prevent this inhumane execution. We stand with our friends in Alabama who are fighting for justice, and we won’t stop until we see the day when there are no more executions anywhere.
Finally, on the home front, FADP held our first board meeting for 2024 and welcomed two new board members – Debra Wright and Michelle Llosa.
Michelle is a capital defense mitigation specialist who recently joined the Florida Justice Institute. She has dedicated her career to advocating for humane, constitutional standards for incarcerated individuals. Debra spent more than 20 years on Arizona’s death row wrongfully convicted of the murder of her own son. Debra is both a death row exoneree and a victim, having lost her child to violence and then being inexplicably convicted of his murder. Her harrowing story serves as a poignant reminder of the deep flaws in our justice system. I promise you’ll hear more about Debra and Michelle soon, and please check our website in the coming days for their full bios.
I encourage you to take a minute to update your contact information with us. I also am asking you to consider setting up a recurring monthly donation for FADP for 2024 – every dollar helps us have the capacity to make sure we can stand together against injustice everywhere.
P.S. Remember now that we have added PayPal, ApplePay, and Venmo as options to donate