For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 29, 2018
Contact: Mark Elliott, (727) 215-9646, [email protected]
Pinellas/Pasco Faith Leaders to Gather on Good Friday to Urge State Attorney Bernie McCabe to Stop Seeking Death Sentences
Letter Signed by 46 Local Faith Leaders to be Delivered to State Attorney
Clearwater, FL — Local faith leaders from Pinellas and Pasco counties will gather at the Pinellas County Justice Center on Friday, March 30, to urge State Attorney Bernie McCabe to stop seeking death sentences. They will deliver a letter signed by 46 local faith leaders to the State Attorney’s office. The letter expresses concern that Pinellas is an outlier county compared to the rest of the United States when it comes to its frequent usage of the death penalty. It also highlights a poll released In February 2018 that shows that two-thirds of Pinellas County voters (68%) prefer some version of life in prison over the death penalty for persons convicted of murder. Only 30% of respondents chose the death penalty as their preferred punishment.
What: Faith leaders will gather to call for an end to the death penalty. They will deliver a letter signed by 46 local faith leaders to the State Attorney’s office.
When: Friday, March 30, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. (Good Friday)
Where: Pinellas County Justice Center (Front of the building)
Who: The faith leaders will be represented by Reverend Robert Schneider, Pastor of St. Cecilia Catholic Church; Reverend Dr. Russell Meyer, Executive Director, Florida Council of Churches; Reverend James Golden Esq., A.M.E. Social Action Chair Florida and the Bahamas; and additional leaders and community members.
Pinellas County seeks death more than almost every other county in the entire United States. Court records indicate that State Attorney Bernie McCabe has filed to seek death in 15 pending cases and six retrials. Nine death penalty trials are already scheduled for 2018.
Rev. Dr. Russell Meyer, Executive Director of the Florida Council of Churches who will be attending the event, said “When we take life, we diminish ourselves and deny that life is a gift. That’s why people overwhelmingly choose life in prison over the death penalty.”
“The African Methodist Episcopal Church is opposed to any state-imposed sanction of death as a penalty for crimes committed against the state,” added Rev. James Golden. “There is no justifiable way for a civilized people by government action to kill any human being for committing a crime. The appropriate alternative would be to permanently remove the person from our midst with life imprisonment without any possibility of returning.”
Rev. Bob Schneider, Pastor of St. Cecelia Church in Clearwater, stated, “Pinellas residents are looking for life-affirming alternatives to the death penalty–that they no longer want to answer violence with more violence. The death penalty is not a viable means to promote true healing for victims’ families.”
For more information on the event or letter, please contact: Mark Elliott, Director Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, at (727) 215-9646 or [email protected].