FADP Officers and Board of Directors: (L-R) Sheila Meehan (Vice Chair), Ingrid Delgado (Chair), Maria C. Knoll PhD (Treasurer), Joyce Hamilton Henry PhD, Mark Elliott (Executive Director), Natishia Y. June, Nancy O’Byrne, Mary Anne Hoffman (Secretary), Rev. Dr. Glenn Dickson.
Not pictured: Clemente Aguirre, Steve Connelly, Laura Finley PhD, Christine Henderson, Herman Lindsey, Elke Long, Joseph Thornton MD, Ron Wright, Jr., and Emily Chow (FADP Communications Strategist)
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and non-partisan statewide Florida organization of individuals and groups united to abolish the Death Penalty in Florida. FADP works to build a strong, diverse, statewide, grassroots movement which:
- Opposes executions
- Reduces the application of the Death Penalty until it is ultimately abolished
- Protects the humanity of all persons impacted by the Death Penalty
- Educates Floridians about the Death Penalty
- Provides concrete action steps for individuals and groups
Mark Elliott, FADP Executive Director, is a native Floridian from Tampa. In 2004, he left a career in medical technology systems and began work to abolish the death penalty as the State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator for AIUSA. His first assignment was working to help pass legislation to end the juvenile death penalty. In 2006, he became Executive Director of FADP – Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Since then, FADP has become the statewide grassroots coalition organization that represents the many various and diverse stakeholders in Florida’s struggle to abolish the Death Penalty and reform our criminal legal system.
Ingrid Delgado, FADP Board Chair, serves as Associate for Social Concerns & Respect Life at the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops where she represents the Catholic Bishops of Florida on issues of human life, dignity and social justice before the legislative and executive branches of government and community organizations. She works with Florida’s diocesan respect life directors through the State Pro-Life Coordinating Committee and staffs the Conference’s Prison Ministry Committee.
Previously, Delgado worked as a Program Coordinator/Training and Curriculum Development Specialist for ThinkSmart, a youth outreach program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida and later as a Match Grant Specialist and Case Manager for the organization’s Refugee Resettlement program. She has also served as a language arts teacher at an alternative high school in Central Florida and lived as a missionary in San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic, helping to provide for the nutritional, medical, and educational needs of the residents in the poorest region of the Dominican Republic.
To find out more about why Ingrid fights for life over death, please click on, “Why Ingrid Fights for Life Over Death”
Sheila Meehan, FADP Vice-Chair, is currently assistant director of the Florida Alliance for Consumer Protection (flacp.org). Sheila has worked as a corporate researcher at the national headquarters of the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C. and as a labor organizer for the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild where she organized reporters at the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun.
After returning to Florida she was the Administrator of the Community Services Team, the national pro bono department of Holland & Knight LLP. She assisted in representation of two prisoners on Florida’s death row and quickly realized that the death penalty justice system was broken. As the Assistant Director and founding staff member of the Innocence Project of Florida she soon saw a record number of people exonerated and released from Florida’s death row. These experiences brought her to activism on this important issue and as a volunteer she is past Chair of Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty (tcadp.net) and past Treasurer of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
To find out why Sheila Meehan opposes the death penalty, please click on “Sheila Meehan: Why I Oppose the Death Penalty”.
Mary Anne Hoffman, FADP Board Secretary, has worked on death penalty issues since 1982. Her work and volunteer life have centered on affordable housing, homelessness, adult literacy and public benefits issues in both state government and non-profit organizations. In 2014 she retired from the State of Florida Office on Homelessness where she was a program coordinator. Mary Anne is the current chairperson of Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty. She also serves on the boards of Kindred Spirits Charitable Trust and Graceful Solutions for Housing, Inc.
To find out why Mary Anne fights to end the death penalty, please click on “Why Mary Anne Fights to Abolish the Death Penalty
María C. Knoll, Ph.D., FADP Treasurer, is a retired Project Director for the US Army and former Program Management college professor for the University of Phoenix. A graduate of the University of Miami as a computer engineer, Dr. Knoll earned her doctorate in Industrial Engineering with a concentration in management from the University of Central Florida
In addition to her service to FADP, Dr. Knoll invests her time as a volunteer for several advocacy organizations including serving on the Advisory Board for the Diocese of Orlando’s Human Trafficking Task Force, which in January 2019 was awarded the prestigious Polaris Award for its contributions in providing public awareness and support to human trafficking victims in the Central Florida area. Dr. Knoll is also a proud board member and Legislative Advocacy Co-Chair for the Florida Council of Catholic Women.
To find out why Maria opposes the death penalty, please click on “Better Ways to Spend Our Tax Dollars”
FADP Board Members:
Clemente Aguirre is Florida’s 28th exonerated Death Row survivor. Clemente was a victim of wrongful conviction and sentenced to death on February 28, 2006. False forensic evidence linked him to the murder of a mother and daughter, his neighbors. The evidence was later ruled false and the fingerprint analyst came under review for falsely identifying Clemente’s prints. Charges were dropped as Clemente prepared for a new trial on November 5, 2018 when multiple witnesses testified that the daughter and granddaughter of the victims had confessed to the crime.
He was never compensated for his 14-year ordeal. He has begun to volunteer his time on efforts with other death row exonerees in Florida to share his story and fight to end the death penalty so that others do not have to experience the same injustices that he suffered.
Steve Connelly has four-plus decades of leadership and consulting success in both the public and private sectors. He is committed to giving back to his neighborhoods through volunteer advocacy programs; and, has devoted 10,000 lifetime hours to community service.
Permanently disabled, he has participated in religious ministries, job-placement, veterans and disabled assistance, human-dignity, civil-rights, LGBTQ, PTSD, justice-and-peace, autism, youth-services, cancer-support, historic-preservation, and wildlife-rescue causes.
As a diplomatic-service family member, Naval Officer, business executive, and senior Federal global program director, Steve has lived throughout the U.S., and, in both Europe and the Near East. Through that, he has traveled in excess one million miles; and, has relocated his principal residence 28 times.
Steve’s wife, Ellen Middleton, is a multi-generational Floridian, with significant contributions toward women’s rights and battered-women’s shelter and protection. She owns and manages a Florida investment-consulting and financial-advisory firm.
Steve’s son, Mike, is a business executive and intellectual-property attorney, who is approved to practice before SCOTUS. His daughter, Caroline, is a published fine-arts professional and certified museum historian and curator. Both have contributed extensively toward youth support and animal safeguarding.
Rev. Dr. Glenn Dickson graduated from McCormick Seminary in 1977 with his Doctorate of Ministry. He served as pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Gainesville for 36 years and retired in 2009. Rev. Dickson has served as pastor to death row inmates from 1991 to present. He is Co-coordinator for Gainesville Citizens for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
To find out why Glenn opposes the death penalty, please click on “Dr. Glenn Dickson: Why I Oppose the Death Penalty”
Laura Finley, Ph.D. is Professor of Sociology & Criminology at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. She is the author, co-author, or editor of 18 books, numerous journal articles and book chapters, as well as a syndicated columnist with PeaceVoice. In addition, Dr. Finley is a member of many human rights, social justice and peace organizations and is co-founder of the South Florida Consortium for Restorative Justice.
Christine Henderson has an extensive history of working with communities and youth to improve the juvenile justice system at all levels. She has worked throughout Florida, in Jackson, MS and a variety of other communities in the Southeast to further advocacy and litigation efforts with Southern Poverty Law Center. She was often called upon to build coalitions, mobilize citizens, provide community action plans and train advocates to lobby for themselves and their communities. Christine was instrumental in helping build the case against an abusive juvenile justice facility, which was ultimately closed and she worked tirelessly to maintain pressure on decision makers to maintain certain standards of Juvenile care during a proposed legislative overhaul of the Juvenile Justice system.
Christine is currently Senior Strategist – Collective Healing, Equal Justice USA. Christine focuses a lot of her organizing in Jacksonville-Duval County, Florida as it has been in the top 3 of the most extreme counties nationally in use of death penalty. She also focuses on Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, and Pinellas-Pasco Counties – recently among the top 16 most extreme use death penalty counties on the U.S. and in Orange-Osceola Counties.
Joyce Hamilton Henry, Ph.D., MSW is Director of Statewide Initiatives for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Florida and is based in Tampa. Dr. Hamilton Henry received a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work and a doctorate in Social Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Hartford in African American Studies and in the Departments of Sociology and Psychology.
She is known for her contributions in the field of social work and is published on the experience of Caribbean immigrants. She has expertise in a range of issues including race and ethnic relations, immigrant rights, voting rights, felon disenfranchisement and civic engagement. She is the author of No One Asked Us: The Under-representation of African Americans and Latinos on Local Boards and Commissions.
To find out why Joyce fights to end the death penalty, please click on “Why I Fight for Life Over Death”
Natishia Y. June is currently the Organizing Manager for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, and a Jacksonville native. Natishia is a proud graduate of Florida Agriculture & Mechanical University (FAMU) with a degree in Criminal Justice and is a small business owner and author of “Greatness”
She is very passionate about social justice especially in the protection of women’s rights/ liberation, criminal justice & voting rights. Natishia is one of the founding members of the Justice 4 Jacksonville Coalition, a coalition to reduce death sentences in the 4th Judicial Circuit. Natishia has spoken across the country and the state of Florida on issues regarding death penalty, voting rights, rights restoration, immigration, LGBT and racial justice issues. Currently, Natishia serves in other civic organizations such as the Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment (ICARE), where she is on the Restorative Justice & Crime Committees, on the Business Advisory Council with the City Rescue Mission, and as Chairwoman of the Jacksonville Juvenile Justice Coalition & JCE Faith Committee. She has also served as a member of the Women’s Academic & Cultural Society working with young people, the National Council of Negro Women, and National Black HIV/AIDS Network.
Natishia previously worked as Project Manager for a faith-based youth program FISH Kids, Inc. and as a Health Educator for Shisa Inc. conducting HIV/AIDS testing, education and outreach to high-risk populations.
Herman Lindsey is Florida’s 23rd exonerated Death Row survivor. In a unanimous verdict, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in July 2009 that there wasn’t enough evidence to find Herman guilty of anything, much less sentence him to death, and that he did not receive a fair trial. Herman was exonerated in 2009 after spending 3 years on Florida’s Death Row. He has never been compensated for his ordeal
He currently resides in S. Florida with his wife and children. He works with at-risk youth. Herman is on the Board of Witness to Innocence and speaks across the U.S. and internationally.
Elke Long was born and raised in the German Democratic Republic. She moved to the United States in 1993 and became a US Citizen in 2009. Elke inherently opposes the death penalty because she was born in the aftermath of the Third Reich and believes that no government should be given the right to decide who lives and who dies.
She has been a member of Tallahassee Citizens Against the Death Penalty – TCADP since 2014. In 2016 Elke joined the TCADP Board of Directors and is currently Board Secretary. As a family member of a death row inmate, Elke spoke at the “Rally in Tally” in 2014. She continues to engage with other family members of death row inmates to encourage them to take a stand against the death penalty and become part of the bigger movement.
Nancy O’Byrne, retired in 2004 as Director of Leasing for a commercial real estate company that owned several office buildings in downtown Jacksonville. She decided to take a more meaningful path in her life by devoting much of her time to advocacy for peace and justice issues in her church and in her community.
She was the Chairwoman of the Catholic Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission for 13 years (2000 – 2013) and awarded the Thomas A. Horkan, Jr. Distinguished Catholic Leader Award by the Florida Bishops in 2012. She continues to coordinate execution vigils and she is currently Advocacy Chairwoman on the Board of Catholic Charities in the Diocese.
Nancy is the Organizer of the Compassion in Action initiative of Compassionate St. Augustine, which provides educational and advocacy programs for criminal justice and prison reform, and she facilitates Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops for the youth and staff at the St. Johns Youth Academy, the juvenile detention facility in St. Augustine.
She is the Board Secretary of Home Again St. Johns, which plans to construct a Unified Services Center on S.R. 207 for the homeless, along with 80 units of affordable supportive housing for those in need of mental health and addiction services.
Nancy and her husband David are members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in St. Augustine where they do home visits to low-income clients in need of financial assistance. They were recently appointed State Justice Coordinators for the Sisters of St. Joseph. They belong to Santa Maria del Mar parish and have been married for 25 years. They have 3 grown children and 7 beautiful grandsons.
To find our more about why Nancy advocates ending the death penalty, please click on “Why I Advocate Ending Executions”
Dr. Joseph Thornton, MD, FADP Board Secretary, is Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Florida College of Medicine and is Chief, Psychiatry Services, UFHealth Shands Hospital in Gainesville. From 2003 to 2010 Dr. Thornton served as the Medical Executive Director for the North Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center (NFETC). NFETC is a 200 bed maximum security forensic mental health treatment facility in Gainesville, Florida.
Dr. Thornton served on a National Health Service Corps assignment to Union Correctional Institution at Raiford, Florida from 1992 to 1996. In his role as the Medical Executive Director from 1994 to 1996 his duties included weekly walking rounds to see each of 300 inmates housed on death row. Ten years later as a psychiatrist for the NFETC he was called as an expert witness on competency to appeal death penalty sentences. As a physician, a psychiatrist who had worked on Florida death row, and as a physician among physicians who participate in executions, he has a specific responsibility to speak out against the death penalty and to put an end to medical killing.
To find out why Joe Thornton opposes the death penalty, click on “Joseph E. Thornton, MD: Why I Oppose the Death Penalty”
Ralph (Ron) Wright, Jr. is Florida’s 27th exonerated Death Row survivor and a native of Orlando, Florida. In January 2009, he was erroneously arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder for which he was later wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death. His case came before the Florida Supreme Court on direct review in April 2017. The Court unanimously concluded Mr. Wright had been wrongfully convicted of these charges and ordered the judgement reversed, the sentences of death be vacated, and remanded the case back to the trial court with directions to enter judgements of acquittal. He was released in July 2017.
Prior to his wrongful conviction, Mr. Wright was a career law enforcement officer and military veteran, having served for 20 years in the United States Air Force in law enforcement, personnel and resources protection, and counter-terrorism capacities. He is a veteran of Operation Desert Shield & Desert Storm, and following the events of Sep 11, 2001, he was recalled to active duty and served in Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Southern Watch, and Iraqi Freedom. He also served the Central Florida community with two Florida law enforcement agencies in the respective Road Patrol divisions. Mr. Wright brings the rare perspective of having been extensively involved in the criminal justice community. He now advocates for the abolition of the death penalty, and other much needed criminal justice reforms. He is also a member of Witness to Innocence and offers his insight and experiences through speaking engagements across the United States and Canada. Upon his return to the private sector, he re-entered the commercial transportation industry and currently provides entertainment and special event transportation services throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Emily Chow joined FADP as the Communications Strategist in August 2016. Prior to FADP Emily worked for the ACLU of Florida as their Online Advocacy Coordinator communicating the affiliate’s advocacy, policy, and legal efforts to ACLU-FL supporters through their digital platforms, including designing multimedia content, creating action alerts, and implementing engagement strategies on social media in both English and Spanish. Before moving to Florida, Emily was the Senior Program Associate at the Latin America Working Group (LAWG), in Washington, DC where she worked with a coalition of grassroots, faith leaders, businesses and policy groups to advocate for the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba. Emily has a BA in International Relations with a minor in Spanish and Latin American studies from American University. While she has moved extensively up and down the east coast, and currently resides in Washington, DC, she still calls Albany, NY home.