Florida Catholic Bishops to Rick Scott: End Death Penalty

By: Eric Giunta | Posted: July 9, 2013 4:55 PM

Florida Catholic Conference and Marshall Gore

Florida's Catholic bishops have repeated their decades-long call for Florida to abolish the death penalty, as the state prepares to execute a former escort service owner convicted of raping and murdering two women, and attempting to murder a third, all in the 1980s.

“We urge Governor [Rick] Scott to commute the death sentence of Marshall Gore to life in prison without possibility of parole,” the seven spiritual leaders of Florida's 2.3 million Catholics pleaded in a joint statement Tuesday. “In making this plea, we are saddened and troubled by the brutal murders of his victims, Susan Roark and Robyn Novick, and we express our sincere sympathy to their families. However, neither retribution nor deterrence can justify the use of the death penalty.”

Gore's execution, scheduled to be carried out Wednesday at 6 p.m., concludes a 25-year judicial process that only just ended. After a series of trials, appeals, and retrials, a federal appeals court on June 27 denied claims by Gore's lawyers that their client was mentally insane.

The U.S. Supreme Court has previously held that capital punishment of the insane is a violation of the Eighth Amendment's constitutional ban on “cruel and unusual punishment.”

“We renew our appeal to the governor and all policymakers that when society can otherwise be kept safe, there is no justifiable reason to use the death penalty,” the bishops continue. “Across the world, most other countries have abandoned the death penalty, in practice or in principle. In our country, the past six years have seen six states repeal their death penalty laws. Given our dubious record of wrongful convictions with 24 exonerations, Florida should join these enlightened states.”

Though the legalization or abolition of the death penalty rests with the Florida Legislature, the decision whether to carry out any particular execution rests with the governor. If Scott does not commute Gore's death sentence before 6 p.m. Wednesday, Gore will die by lethal injection.

Reach Eric Giunta at egiunta@sunshinestatenews.com or at 954-235-9116.

Comments (6)

12:01PM JUL 13TH 2013
He should pay for his crimes by his death why should
His family get to see him when his victims can see there family
Bill H
7:57PM JUL 10TH 2013
I wish the bishops would spend 1/10th as much time working to stop the tremendous number of murders as they do trying to stop executions. Then there may be some validity to their arguements.
12:21PM JUL 10TH 2013
I have to disagree with the bishops and others who want to abolish the death penalty. It most certainly is a deterrent, but only if it is used. If a killer, or serial killer, someone who enjoys brutally torturing and murdering victims knows that the only thing he/she will get for it is a free home and food, medical, library, etc. for the rest of their lives....hey, why not kill! And comparing it to the innocent lives lost in abortion, and even worse...late term abortions, is not even logical. I value life, especially the unborn who have done nothing wrong to deserve death, but I do understand, even biblically, that killing someone else deserves severe consequences, even death itself. That's my opinion.
2:56PM JUL 12TH 2013
The killers probably felt that their victims "deserved to die". That's why they should be locked up. They believe they have the right to kill people. They are sociopaths. Our justice system shouldn't emulate them.
8:41AM JUL 10TH 2013
How can people who claim to value life, to the point that they want to abolish abortion, also support the death penalty? Does this not show a lot of hypocrisz?
8:40AM JUL 10TH 2013
How can people who claim to value life, to the point that they want to abolish abortion, also support the death penalty? Does this not show a lot of hypocrisz?

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