Florida Prosecutor Goes on Killing Spree

Angela Corey is certainly making a name for herself. Not only has she worked to send more people to death row than any other state’s attorney in the Sunshine State, but she leads the pack nationally as well.

We’re all used to hearing stories about the madness that passes for criminal justice in Florida. Headlines like “Florida Man Wanted for Peeing on Gators Fans” are so funny they have their own dedicated Twitter feed. Much less hilariously, Marissa Alexander, a Black domestic violence survivor, was sentenced to 20 years for shooting a gun to scare off her abusive husband, hurting no one. (Corey—of George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn fame, it should be known—was also responsible for prosecuting Alexander, and is now seeking a 60-year sentence in the new trial.)

Here’s the thing: these aren’t just blips. What’s going on in Florida presents deeply disturbing, systemic, racial dynamics—and Corey’s hands are filthy.

Simply put, when Corey chooses who the state should kill, she has been targeting African Americans. She has sent 21 men to death row in four years: 14 of whom are African American – a wildly disproportionate rate given murder statistics. In the state of Florida, where no white person has ever been executed for killing an African American, Corey’s discriminatory prosecution practices reinforce this shameful and unjust death-sentencing tradition. 

Under Corey’s reign, things are even worse than they were during Jim Crow. Since 2009, 66 percent (and rising – two defendants are currently pending final sentence) of people sentenced to death under Corey’s watch were African American. During Jim Crow, from 1924 – 1964, African Americans made up 65 percent of those sentenced to death in the Corey’s Circuit. And that’s in a state that's 16 percent Black.

For many members of communities of color, years of being ignored and receiving second-class treatment have brought things to a boiling point. And deservedly so. But the recent request from some local Black ministers to increase death-penalty prosecutions so people of color and white people are being targeted for death at more comparable rates is not the answer. We need more justice, not more death. A more humane response to violent crime is well-tested, effective crime prevention and public safety programs, including supporting community crime prevention programs that work; providing services for the victims of violent crime and their families, including murder victims’ families; and funding investigation of unsolved crimes – not only for white victims, but for all victims.

We can’t let Corey’s killing spree continue without oversight—as it has for far too long. Obviously, the best solution would be to do away with Florida’s lethally flawed death penalty system entirely. But in the meantime, a more transparent and publicly accountable process for seeking the death penalty is the answer.  A review committee, similar to those in other capital jurisdictions, to approve death-seeking decisions could ensure the public that the death penalty is only sought for the “worst of the worst” and in a non-discriminatory manner. 

With unfettered resources, and without oversight, Angela Corey will continue on her tax-dollar-subsidized killing spree.

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Anonymous

Didn't Ted Bundy murder an African-American in his list of victims?
He died in a Florida electric chair.
My family's too Republican for their clothes. They believe in the death penalty for ALL people who qualify for it (not everybody does) and they want gay people literally dead rather than see that one exists in the world.
It's pretty embarrassing if you ask me.

right wing and proud

This is liberal tripe. I have never read such an asinine article. But what do you expect from a racist orginazation like the Aclu. Wvery murderer should be hung or fried in the chair. Lets see if the Aclu has the guts to post this. They hate opposition to their radical liberal agenda you know.

HawkAtreides

Bringing up the Marissa Alexander case doesn't help anything. Warning shots are ridiculously irresponsible and extremely dangerous acts, since they are the utilization of deadly force against a person in a manner that is not actually directed at the target. People are killed by stray shots and ricochets on a regular basis - there's a spotlight case in which a child was killed because of a gun that fired multiple times due to a malfunction, with the second bullet ricocheting off a drop-ceiling tile and striking him fatally in the head. There is a reason there are safety rules that should be followed when using a firearm even in nothing more than a controlled range environment; when using one against another human being in an uncontrolled environment, ignoring those rules is unconscionable. I know that people like to paint Ms. Alexander as a counterpoint to George Zimmerman, but to be blunt, when Mr. Zimmerman was pulling the trigger on Trayvon Martin, whether or not you believe he was in the right to do so - and I, for the record, do not - he did not needlessly endanger the lives of others.

Vicki B.

What kind of idiot says they're proud of telling lies about people. You can call lots of people racist - and start with extreme right-wing PROUD people and be right on the nose with the accusation - when RACIST is the LAST thing the ACLU is.

I can't believe the type of people that I thought were like me when I was MORE Republican than I am now. I was NEVER racist against anybody except for a while, Arabs, but I was more nervous and scared of them b/c some of them killed a person in my family.
Right-wing people hate gays, blacks, women's equality and anything different.
What the hell is there to be PROUD of in THAT?

I wonder who the hell raised people to be this way, b/c my 100% Republican mom and dad BOTH raised us to have a least a small amount of respect for people. I thought everyone was like THAT.
I still can't believe what I was associating myself with unaware that's how it really was. It's like I was asleep until Bush and his nitwits ripped me out of my stupor and showed me how really terrible they could be when responding to a crisis.

I know someone who died on September 11, but I never even THOUGHT of torturing confessions out of the people who did it. Eric, one of the people they claim to have done this for, would never be able to rest in peace if he knew this is what they did. I'm glad he doesn't know it.

Shrike

Quoting the percentage of capital cases that are against African Americsn defendants is meaningless without also telling us what percentage of these crimes are commuted by that particular group. Obviously.

Anonymous

Why should American Africans actions get pardoned due to the color of their skin?

Vicki B.

Yes he did. He needlessly endangered the life of Trayvon Martin as well as set up needless pain for Sybrina Fulton and Trayvon's father.
Someone in my family died in Tower 1. They did WAY more than simply kill him: They gave us something horrible that we have to try to live with in spite of its agony that tries to consume us on a daily basis.
Nobody has a clue what a death by intentional violence does to the surviving relatives, or they would think the murderer should also be punished for dropping all that emotional angst into our lives when they ripped our loved one OUT of it.

Christopher Booker

Can we get a source for the claim that Florida has never executed a white person for the killing of a black person. I'd like to use it as a resource but need to have a verified source.

Anonymous

From my point of view, the only effect of the death penalty is that it can only guarantee that the person killed will never kill again. Otherwise, the death penalty will not stop crimes that carry the death penalty. The death penalty goes back to lex talionis, the law of vengeance, in the Code of Hammurabi. Lex talionis deals with an "eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." Vengeance was in the hands of the loved ones of the victim. However, in present day, vengeance is in hands of the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system seeks vengeance for the victim via due process of law. However, it is possible for a prosecutor to use the death penalty as a personal vendetta against persons of different racial background than that of the prosecutor. The prosecutor has the power to "wheel and deal" a case and practice "selective prosecution." He/she may value conviction rates of death penalty cases over the need for justice in a quest to make a name for himself/herself. It is possible for a prosecutor to chose not prosecute a black person over a white person if there is a higher risk to lose the case. If we apply a little math, for a prosecutor to lose a case, it would count against his conviction rate which would not look too good on his/her record. ... So beware-prosecutors are also human and subject to the five sinful traits: jealousy, envy, pride, lust for pleasure, and the big one-GREED for power! One or two of these sinful traits could be the make up of his/her dark hidden unfair agenda other than justice for the victim! He/she could be bucking for a higher position such as an appointment or election to district judge.

Anonymous

From my point of view, the only effect of the death penalty is that it can only guarantee that the person killed will never kill again. Otherwise, the death penalty will not stop crimes that carry the death penalty. The death penalty goes back to lex talionis, the law of vengeance, in the Code of Hammurabi. Lex talionis deals with an "eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." Vengeance was in the hands of the loved ones of the victim. However, in present day, vengeance is in hands of the criminal justice system. The criminal justice system seeks vengeance for the victim via due process of law. However, it is possible for a prosecutor to use the death penalty as a personal vendetta against persons of different racial background than that of the prosecutor. The prosecutor has the power to "wheel and deal" a case and practice "selective prosecution." He/she may value conviction rates of death penalty cases over the need for justice in a quest to make a name for himself/herself. It is possible for a prosecutor to chose not prosecute a black person over a white person if there is a higher risk to lose the case. If we apply a little math, for a prosecutor to lose a case, it would count against his conviction rate which would not look too good on his/her record. ... So beware-prosecutors are also human and subject to the five sinful traits: jealousy, envy, pride, lust for pleasure, and the big one-GREED for power! One or two of these sinful traits could be the make up of his/her dark hidden unfair agenda other than justice for the victim! He/she could be bucking for a higher position such as an appointment or election to district judge.

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