Florida Attorney General Postpones Execution To Attend Campaign Fundraiser
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is getting an earful for postponing the execution of a death row inmate for another month in order to attend a fundraiser for her re-election campaign.
This came as a surprise to many given Bondi’s fervent support for Florida’s recently passed “Timely Justice Act“—a law that speeds up the execution process despite Florida’s penchant for sentencing innocent people to death.
Fifty-year-old Marshall Lee Gore—convicted of killing two Miami women in 1988—was scheduled for lethal injection on Tuesday, September 10, which Florida Gov. Rick Scott rescheduled for October 1 following a request from Bondi’s office. This comes on top of two execution dates set by Gov. Scott over the summer, which were postponed due to claims by Gore’s lawyers that he is mentally ill.
The Supreme Court has ruled twice—first in Ford v. Wainwright (1986) and again in Panetti v. Quarterman (2007)—that executing the mentally ill is cruel and unusual and therefore violates the Eighth Amendment to the constitution. Nevertheless, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that Gore was feigning mental illness, the same argument used against John Errol Ferguson, a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic who was executed last month despite a lengthy and documented medical history of hallucinations and delusions.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting it’s a bad thing Gore wasn’t executed on Tuesday—I’m staunchly opposed to the death penalty for both moral and logical reasons. However, I am horrified that Bondi and Scott find a scheduling conflict to be a good enough reason to postpone an execution, but not a mental illness.
Even more upsetting is Bondi’s response to critics, most of whom are pro-death penalty advocates angry that Gore is still breathing.
In a statement, Bondi reminded her detractors just how much she enjoys state-sanctioned murder.
“As a prosecutor, there was nothing more important than seeing justice done, especially when it came to the unconscionable act of murder. I personally put two people on death row and, as Attorney General, have already participated in eight executions since I took office, a role I take very seriously,” she said.
But what about Gore? He certainly committed heinous and unforgivable crimes. But October 1st marks the fourth execution date he’s been assigned in just five months. And as I noted in a post for The Nation last month, repeated execution dates followed by last minute postponements amount to psychological torture.
That Florida’s leaders are treating a person’s life with such callous disregard is sickening. They should be ashamed of themselves.