John Spenkelink was executed May 25, 1979 for the kind of murder that now-a-days would not come close to meeting the aggravating factors required for the death penalty.
Since that infamous day Florida has executed 64 individuals. Who really believes not one of them was innocent?
Do we really believe that there is no level of human brutality that merits death as a retribution? No. Indeed Dade has recently convicted several men for a kidnapping, sexual abuse, and execution of a young woman at roadside that by all accounts was so brutal and so terrifying for the victim that execution seems to be a just punishment.
But we have a legal system that is so flawed, so unjust, so broken, that under no circumstances can we look at ourselves in the mirror and say "you guys got it right. You're so good and so careful, and you spend so much money on making sure the accused has adequate and well trained and well funded defense attorneys, that you can take the absolute power of life and death and put it into the hands of the justice system."
No way. Dozens of people have been exonerated from death row. That doesn't mean life in prison. That means the system got it wrong. That means the supposedly most carefully prosecuted and scrutinized cases convicted an innocent man.
Who are we kidding?
The justice system doesn't work.
The death penalty doesn't work.
And we remain the members of a select club of nations, including North Korea and Iran and China, that executes its citizens.
See You in Court. This is a shameful day.