Florida leads the nation in death row exonerations. Twenty-four inmates sentenced to die in Florida were later proved to be innocent. Meanwhile, just 74 people have been executed since the Supreme Court reauthorized the death penalty in the 1970s — so there is one exoneration for every three people executed in Florida. Nevertheless, a new law signed by Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) will speed up future executions and reduce the time available for attorneys to prove their client’s innocence.
The new law requires the governor to issue an execution warrant within 30 days of an inmate exhausting their legal remedies and require the execution to take place within 180 days after such a warrant has issued. In many cases, however, crucial errors in a prosecution are not discovered until years after a sentence is handed down. Hundreds of people, for example, may have been convicted due to flawed FBI analyses that were only recently revealed, despite the fact that government officials knew of the flaws for years.