New Jersey's decision to abolish the death penalty this week most likely won't reverberate in Florida, the St. Petersburg Times reported today.
While New Jersey hadn't executed anyone since 1963 and had only eight inmates on death row, Florida has almost 400 death row inmates and has executed 64 people since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. The death penalty remains popular in the Sunshine State, even though Florida taxpayers spend millions more to execute inmates than if they had received life sentences without parole, and the state now leads the nation with 22 exonerations from death row.
A pending execution in Florida was stayed last month by the Supreme Court, which will consider whether execution by lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment. In 2000, lethal injection replaced the electric chair in Florida after numerous mishaps, including two inmates whose heads caught on fire while being electrocuted.