The latest controversy over a Central Florida prosecutor’s decision not to seek death sentences in capital cases — and Gov. Rick Scott’s swift removal of her from a high-profile case involving an accused cop-killer — has quickly galvanized longtime opponents of the death penalty.
“This could be the spark that sets it off for a real conversation nationwide, not just in Florida,” retired Florida Supreme Court Justice James E.C. Perry, an outspoken critic of the state’s death penalty system, told The News Service of Florida in a telephone interview. “Most transformative acts did not take a majority of the people. Only a few people started it, and it gained momentum. This could be one of those moments.”