If you vote “YES” on Amendment 6 you are also voting to limit death penalty appeals to 5 years. The ballot language for “Rights of Crime Victims; Judges” does not mention the Death Penalty and says nothing about what lies hidden deep in the full text of Amendment 6.
Although it does not appear on the ballot, the full text of Amendment 6, Section 16, paragraph 10, sub-paragraph (b) states, “All state-level appeals and collateral attacks on any judgment must be complete within…five years in capital cases.”
FADP steadfastly supports the rights of all crime victims. Many of us are family and friends of murder victims. Most of the victims rights in Amendment 6 already exist in Florida statutes and it is not clear how adding these to the Florida constitution would meaningfully benefit victims of crime. It would seem that better enforcement of existing laws would be more effective.
The League of Women Voters of Florida lists the following organizations opposed to Amendment 6: Florida Public Defenders Association, League of Women Voters of Florida, ACLU of Florida, Southern Poverty Law Center, Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops and Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
Florida’s 27 Exonerated Death Row Survivors spent an average of 7 years on Death Row before being released due to evidence of innocence – 13 for longer than 5 years.
Examples of why Death Penalty appeals should not be limited to 5 years: Wilbert Lee was on Florida’s Death Row for 12 years before the real killer confessed and both he and Freddie Pitts were exonerated and released.
Tommy Zeigler has been on Death Row for 42 years trying to prove his innocence. WFLA News Channel 8 will air a Special Report “Fighting for His Life” Monday, October 29 at 11:00pm.
See more at the Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty website.