Miami-Dade County Commission calls for speedier executions of mass shooters

Jose “Pepe” Diaz
Florida law already requires speedy postconviction capital case proceedings. Miami-Dade commissioners want even faster action.

Miami-Dade County Commissioners are calling on Florida lawmakers to expedite the execution of convicted mass shooters.

The 13-member panel approved a resolution Tuesday by Chair Jose “Pepe” Diaz urging the Legislature to enact a measure that would speed postconviction capital punishment proceedings, “to the extent possible,” for individuals who committed a mass shooting.

Commissioner Eileen Higgins was the sole “no” vote on the item, which the County Clerk’s Office will send to Gov. Ron DeSantis, Senate President Wilton Simpson, House Speaker Chris Sprowls and members of the Miami-Dade Legislative Delegation.

Florida has been the site of numerous mass shootings, including world headline-grabbing instances at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The gunman in the 2016 Pulse shooting was killed onsite by SWAT officers. The sentencing trail of the Parkland shooter, who faces the death penalty, entered its second day on Tuesday.

Florida law provides that a defendant convicted in a capital case may appeal the ruling and that “all appeals and postconviction actions … are resolved as soon as possible after the date a sentence of death is imposed in the circuit court.”

Diaz’s resolution calls for those procedures to be sped up even more, since there are “almost never questions of identity or guilt” when it comes to convicted mass shooters.

“Nevertheless, these individuals who have committed unspeakable atrocities impose on taxpayers the continued costs of their incarceration as they pursue capital postconviction proceedings and exhaust the judicial process available to them,” the item says.

“This Board wishes to minimize, to the extent possible, the cost borne by taxpayers in connection with the continued costs of incarcerating individuals who have committed mass shootings and have already received a sentence of death.”

Calls for faster executions of convicted mass murderers have grown more common in recent years alongside a sharp increase in such shootings.

In 2019, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott backed measures that were heading to the state Legislature after  shootings in Midland and Odessa.

That same year, the Department of Justice under former President Donald Trump was said to be drafting legislation that, if enacted, would expedite the death penalty for convicted mass shooters nationwide.

While Diaz’s resolution points to the cost of protracted appeals processes as the reason why mass shooters should be executed quicker, numerous studies — including ones cited by the U.S. Supreme Court — have found that it is cheaper to imprison killers for life than execute them.

A 2021 American Civil Liberties Union analysis of Federal Bureau of Prisons information determined it costs taxpayers an average $37,449 yearly per incarcerated individual compared to 25 times that to execute a prisoner.

Several studies have also found the death penalty does little to reduce crime, including mass murder. In a recent interview with POLITICO, Hamline University associate criminology professor Jillian Peterson, a co-author of the 2021 book, “The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic,” argued that executing a mass shooter helps to fulfill their goal of “violent suicide.”

“Mass shooters design these to be their final acts,” she said. “When you realize this, it completely flips the idea that someone with a gun on the scene is going to deter this. If anything, that’s an incentive for these individuals. They are going in to be killed.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Joe Corsin

    July 19, 2022 at 3:17 pm

    Vote RED for purposely botched executions
    Vote RED for domestic terrorist militias protecting election thieves
    Vote RED for forced birth of meth babies

  • John Barron

    July 19, 2022 at 4:16 pm

    Go back to Mexico

  • marylou

    July 19, 2022 at 5:45 pm

    another pro-life sociopath speaks

  • Quix Draw McGraw

    July 19, 2022 at 7:41 pm

    ““Mass shooters design these to be their final acts,” she said. “When you realize this, it completely flips the idea that someone with a gun on the scene is going to deter this. If anything, that’s an incentive for these individuals. They are going in to be killed.”
    If that is the case why do shooters go to schools and churches and malls? Why don’t they just go to the local police station or army base and try to shoot them up?

    • Mad Dog McCree

      July 19, 2022 at 11:48 pm

      Because they also want to kill and hurt as many people as they can before they are killed themselves. It’s why they seldom have an exit plan and do little to conceal their identity. They’re inadequate men who were abused at a young age and want to inflict pain on the world before going out in a hail of bullets. They believe it’s better to be remembered for something horrible than forgotten. A better deterrent than death would be prolonged torture, with the option for the families of victims to participate.

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