Tallahassee gives the death penalty another look - WFLA News Channel 8

Tallahassee gives the death penalty another look

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TALLAHASSEE, FL -

Thursday in Tallahassee, religious leaders, human rights advocates and Democrats took turns railing against the death penalty. For the first time since the death penalty was reinstated, Florida Lawmakers heard a bill to repeal capital punishment.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, allowed the bill to be heard in his committee despite his opposition. Supporters of the bill say Rep. Gaetz may have other motives and use the legislation to speed up executions.

When asked whether he saw a day when we may not need the death penalty, Rep. Gaetz replied, "I think the death penalty is important for public safety. If we are not going to get rid of it, let's at least fix it so we don't have this blight on our justice system where we have people hanging around 25 or 30 years without any end in sight."

Regardless of the outcome, opponents of the death penalty say the fact the bill is being heard is evidence they're gaining ground. Florida executes two inmates a year and 400 people are currently on death row.

The bill was defeated by an overwhelming margin, when put up for a vote Thursday afternoon.

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