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Mark Asay Set to Be Executed, First in Execution in Florida in 19 Months

August 23rd, 2017 by Jake Stofan

 

After more than 19 months without an execution in the state, Mark James Asay is scheduled to be put to death at 6 pm Thursday.

It will be the first execution since the US Supreme Court ruled Florida’s death penalty process unconstitutional and anti-death penalty activists say the process remains unfair.

 

 

Mark Asay was convicted and sentenced to death in 1987 for the murders of two people in Jacksonville.

The verdict was handed out after jury voted 9-3 in favor of death.

Years after Asay’s conviction Florida’s death penalty was ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court for allowing judges the final say in whether a person would receive capital punishment.

Lawmakers then approved a 10-2 jury requirement ,which was then overturned by the Florida Supreme Court.

The Court ruled a unanimous jury would be required.

Asay’s execution will serve as a test to whether Florida’s new death penalty laws satisfy the US Supreme Court’s ruling.

The Florida Supreme Court says Asay can die because his 9-3 verdict was decided before 2002.

Anti-death advocates say the partial retroactivity of the ruling is cause for concern.

 

“That law has only been held to be partially retroactive, which just reminds us how arbitrary and inconsistent the application of the death penalty is,” said Ingrid Delgado with the Catholic Commission.

Multiple appeals by Asay’s lawyers have failed, but Mark Schlakman, an attorney well versed in issues surrounding Florida’s death penalty says the US Supreme Court will review the case before the execution.

 

“The extent to which the US Supreme Court decides to weigh in remains to be seen, but I would not say that it’s highly likely that it will, but it’s possible,” said Attorney Mark Schlackman.

The American and Florida BAR Associations has been asking for a complete review of Florida’s death penalty by all three governmental branches since 2006, citing concerns over fairness, impartiality and accuracy.

No such review has yet been conducted.

Asay’s execution will be the 24th under Governor Rick Scott’s watch. The Governor has signed off on more executions than any other Governor since the death penalty was brought back in 1979.

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