The State of Florida is set to execute a death-row prisoner Thursday evening; it would be the 28th execution under Governor Rick Scott, and several vigils are planned in the Tampa Bay area. Mark Elliott is director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
“Thursday December 13th is the scheduled execution date for Jose Jimenez. It would be the second execution this year [in Florida].
“Recently, in fact last month, we had another exoneration of someone on death row. And that was the second exoneration in a little over a year. This execution, if it takes place, would be the 28th execution under [Florida Governor Rick Scott], which is a new state record.
“And the exoneration last month of Clemente Aguirre was also the 28th exoneration of a Florida death row inmate and set a new state and national record. So the numbers tell a lot in regard to this.
“Florida’s had 96 executions since executions restarted in the 1970s. During that same time there’s been 28 innocent people exonerated off our death row. So, it’s almost one exoneration for every three executions, which should trouble anyone.”
And ‘exoneration’ – essentially what that means is that the justice system said that this person deserves to die and then evidence came out that that wasn’t the case.
“It’s a little different in each case, but essentially that’s it. And we need to keep in mind the State of Florida tries to preserve these convictions and executions. They go to great lengths to do this.
“These people are exonerated because they were able to demonstrate – or some attorneys or investigators a lot of times, at no charge, took interest in the case and were able to demonstrate – innocence. And then they were released.”
One vigil is Wednesday in Holiday beginning at 4:00 p.m. at St. Vincent de Paul Paris at 4843 Mile Stretch Drive.
Here are the vigils on Thursday:
Mid-Pinellas County: intersection of Ulmerton Road and 49th Street North.
Bradenton: St. Joseph Church, 3000 26th Street West.
Sarasota: St. Andrew United Church of Christ, 6908 South Beneva Road.
North Port: San Pedro Parish Chapel, 14380 Tamiami Trail.
Punta Gorda: Sacred Heart Church, 211 West Charlotte Avenue.