Broward News

Florida Is Number One in Sending Inmates to Death Row

Hey, Florida! 

Looks like we're number one in yet another dubious category!

Just a few weeks ago, we became number one in most concealed weapons permits (just days before Newtown, no less!).

And now, it looks like we're number one in sending convicted inmates to death row.

Most concealed weapons and most inmates on death row.

Suck on that, Texas, California, and Pennsylvania!

According to a report from a nonprofit group that studies the death penalty in America, Florida sentenced 21 inmates to death in 2012 -- more than any other state. The Sunshine State sent 13 last year, so, you know... progress!

It's the second year in a row Florida gets tagged with the number-one spot, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Also, the Death Penalty Information Center is a thing.

Florida executed three of the 21 in 2012, including Robert Waterhouse, a convicted rapist and murderer from Tampa Bay; David Alan Gore, a serial rapist who confessed to six murders; and Manuel Pardo, a former police officer who killed nine people in the late 1980s.

For their part, Texas still leads the nation in actual executions, with 15 of them in 2012.

Texas gonna Texas.

As for Florida, Peter Antonacci, the Palm Beach County state attorney appointed by Rick Scott, has been going strong to the hoop as far as cases marked for death penalty prosecutions are concerned. His method seems to be any murder anywhere should immediately be tagged for death penalty consideration.

There are 22 cases that have been pegged as new death penalty prosecutions as of November alone.

"You have a dead human being," Antonacci said. "We have cheapened the value of human life by settling for less than capital punishments."

Sounds like the Hammer o' Justice is all up in Florida. But then there's the statistic that shows we also lead the nation in the number of death row inmates who were later exonerated, acquitted, or had their charges dropped altogether.

"We don't want to be executing people we can't even convict," said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. "A high number of exonerations would spell out some problems. It leads you to worry about some of the people who have been convicted. If we're going to have a death penalty, you don't want to lose confidence in the system."

Pfft. Whatever, Diets. 

This is Florida, where our official state motto is: Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls... Dying Time Is Here!"