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Jul 26, 2021

Florida Supreme Court Justice, in Montgomery, Recorded Call to Eliminate Death Penalth


In Posthumously Released Video, Former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Calls for End to Death Penalty
In a video interview posthumously released on the anniversary of the first modern exoneration of a Florida death-row prisoner, former Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald Kogan has called for abolition of the state’s death penalty. “I believe that the death penalty should absolutely not be a punishment delivered by the State of Florida, or for that matter, neither any place in the United States or the world,” Kogan said.

The interview was recorded by attorney and filmmaker Ted Corless during a trip Justice Kogan took with 40 Florida anti-death penalty activists to the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. Kogan died on March 4, 2021, at the age of 87. The video was released on July 16, the 48th anniversary of the exoneration of David Keaton. Keaton was the first former death-row prisoner to be exonerated after the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic decision in Furman v. Georgia in 1972 struck down all existing U.S. death-penalty laws and ushered in the modern era of the U.S. death penalty. The 30 death-row exonerations in Florida are by far the most in the nation.

In the video, Justice Kogan speaks about his 60-year journey as a member of the Florida bar from death-penalty supporter to death-penalty opponent. He voices concerns over the grave issues he witnessed throughout his career regarding the administration of capital punishment. Foremost among those concerns, he says, are the risk of executing innocent people and the punishment’s inherent unfairness. “We are executing people who probably are innocent,” Kogan said.


Kogan said he was convinced Florida had executed three innocent people, though he did not name them. “We cannot bring back to life people that we made mistakes about. And we just have to do something,” Kogan urged.

Florida has executed 99 prisoners since re-enacting the death penalty after Furman. In that time, it has exonerated one wrongfully convicted death-row prisoner for every 3.3 people it has executed.

Source: The anti-death penalty group "The Death Penalty Information Center"

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