The Florida State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People stands fully behind Orlando County State Attorney Aramis Ayala decision not to seek the death penalty in future cases. The overwhelming evidence shows that the pursuit of the death penalty results in community resources being spent on a costly, unnecessary, fallible, and racially-biased punishment. Over the last forty years, 156 death row inmates have been exonerated; that means that more than one person has been exonerated for every 10 people executed. With 26 death row exonerees, Florida leads the nation in the number of innocent people freed from death row. The way Florida applies the death penalty has been found unconstitutional time and again, and studies have shown that Florida’s death penalty is racially biased. Florida spends an estimated $51 million a year on this costly punishment, when it could keep the public safe by sentencing dangerous criminals to life without parole instead.
The Florida State Conference stands with State Attorney Ayala’s decision that it is time to make better choices. Instead of spending our limited resources on a penalty that is inhumane, racially biased, and fallible, we can choose to invest in education, mental health treatment, and other areas that build our community. We can take steps to build a brighter future for Floridians instead of directing our resources towards a punishment that makes no one safer.
In light of our strong support for the State Attorney’s pronouncement, we condemn Governor Rick Scott’s decision to reassign the Markeith Loyd case. Governor Scott is only supposed to take such a measure with “good and sufficient reason.” Instead, he disregarded the well-reasoned decision of the duly elected Orlando County State Attorney. The Florida NAACP calls for the Governor to return the case to State Attorney Ayala’s jurisdiction and to respect her choice about the best use of prosecutorial resources in her county.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. For more information on the NAACP Florida State Conference, please visit www.FLNAACP.com or email info@FLNAACP.com.