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Soapboxer: Faster, Florida, kill! Kill!

What do you do if you lead the country in death-row executions? Kill ‘em faster

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Van Poyck’s guilt was never really in doubt. Still, his case illustrates some of the perpetually troubling aspects of Florida’s capital punishment system, which this law does nothing to fix: Florida, for instance, is one of just two states that don’t require unanimous jury votes for death sentences (one juror voted to spare Van Poyck). And like many other condemned men, Van Poyck was poor, which meant he had to rely on court-appointed attorneys whose quality is too often, in a word, atrocious. (No, the $400,000 pittance the law throws at the problem won’t do anything to ameliorate a fundamentally broken system.)

When you’re in a hole, the answer isn’t to dig faster.

I object to the death penalty for the usual reasons: it’s expensive and inefficient, racist in application, and caters to a societal bloodlust we should be evolving beyond. But if we’re going to do it, the least we can do is offer the condemned every opportunity to prove their innocence, even if it drags things out a couple months or years.

Death, after all, is forever.

Follow Jeffrey C. Billman on Twitter: @jeffreybillman

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