Catholic bishops call on Rick Scott to stop this week’s scheduled execution

The state of Florida is scheduled to execute Jose Antonio Jimenez by lethal injection Thursday at 6 p.m. for the 1992 murder of Phyllis Mina.

Jimenez was 29 years old when he was convicted of beating and stabbing 63-year-old Phyllis Minas after she caught him burglarizing her Miami-Dade apartment.

Governor Rick Scott originally signed a death warrant in July for Jimenez to be executed in August, but the Florida Supreme Court issued a stay of execution on August 10. That came after Jimenez’ attorneys said their client’s legal rights had been violated because of “newly discovered evidence” unearthed by the North Miami Police Department.

Jimenez’ attorneys also claimed that the state risked violating the Eight Amendment’s constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment by using the drug etomidate in the lethal-injection process.

But a majority of the Florida Supreme Court rejected both arguments in October.

Now, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling on Scott to commute Jimenez’s death sentence, and says instead that Florida should give him life imprisonment.

“Both victims of crime and offenders are children of God and members of the same human family,” writes Michael B. Sheedy, the executive director of the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops. “We appreciate your difficult task as governor and still must ask you to commute this death sentence, and all death sentences, to life without the possibility of parole.”

The governor is unlikely to be moved by the Bishops’ sentiments. Since taking office in 2011, Scott has overseen the execution of 27 death row inmates in Florida, the most of any Florida governor since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

There are 354 people on Florida’s Death Row, the second-largest total in the country, only behind California.

Catholic dioceses in seven Florida cities will be holding vigils opposing Jimenez’ execution on Thursday.

 

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