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Florida Bishops Oppose Execution

WASHINGTON (CNS) – As Florida’s Supreme Court lifted a stay of execution for Manuel Valle, clearing the path for him to be put to death Sept. 6, the state’s Catholic bishops urged Gov. Rick Scott to stop it.

The unanimous court lifted the stay Aug. 23, upholding a lower court finding that a new drug to be used for execution meets constitutional standards. Florida, like other states, has had executions put on hold over the last couple of years while new drugs were sought to replace one that has become unavailable for executions.

In their letter to the governor, Florida’s bishops urged Scott to stay Valle’s execution on the grounds that: “Killing someone because they killed diminishes respect for life and promotes a culture of violence and vengeance.”

The letter conceded the state’s right to impose the death penalty “when absolutely necessary, that is when it is otherwise impossible to defend society. However, given the ability of Florida to protect its residents by incarcerating inmates for life without possibility of parole, we pray you will exercise that option.”

Valle, 61, was sentenced to death for killing Coral Gables police officer Louis Pena in 1978 following a traffic stop.

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