Anti-death penalty advocates cheer Representative Vasalinda's bill to end death penalty in Florida

"I'm just not sure this is something the government should be doing," said Rehwinkel Vasilinda. "The death penalty has not been applied fairly over the years."

Mark Elliot with the group Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty has issued out a release to its members, encouraging them to call their legislators to express support for Rehwinkel Vasilinda's bill (HB#4189).

Support for the death penalty seems to shift back and forth a bit, but generally most Americans overall have shown support for the ultimate form of justice since the U.S. Supreme Court re-instated it back in the late 1970's.  Since then, the state has executed 69 people, the last being Martin Grossman on February 16, 2010.

According to the Department of Corrections, the average stay on Death Row prior to executions is 12.68 years.  It's over 14 years on average between the offense and execution.  The average inmate executed amongst the 69 who have died at the state's hand is 44 years old.

Now one state lawmaker wants to eliminate it.  That would be Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, who has introduced a bill in the state House of Representatives that would end the death penalty, though she tells Bill Coterell of the Tallahassee Democrat that she has no illusions that it will past in the GOP-led Legislature.

"I thought this was something that needs to be repealed for a number of reasons," she said. "If we're interested in cutting budgets and costs, it seems to me that the death penalty is much more expensive than life in prison without possibility of parole."

She said studies have shown an execution can cost $20 million or more, in years of investigative and court costs, and that half the Florida Supreme Court's caseload is taken up by the 394 condemned killers now on death row. Life in prison costs about $18,000 a year and accomplishes the same public safety, she said....

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