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Florida bishops: Stay execution of James Dailey

In letter to governor, bishops cite evidence of his innocence

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UPDATE, Oct. 23, 2019: 
The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida has granted a temporary stay of execution to allow Mr. Dailey's newly appointed federal counsel time to present his substantial claims of innocence.

TALLAHASSEE, Florida |  The eight Catholic bishops of Florida have written to Gov. Ron DeSantis urging him to stay the execution of James Dailey. Dailey, who was sentenced to death for the 1985 murder of 14-year-old Shelly Boggio, has a strong case for innocence. 

“While we urge you to stop every execution and end the use of the death penalty in Florida, this case of a veteran with evidence of innocence is especially alarming,” wrote the bishops. 

Another man, Jack Pearcy, has signed a sworn affidavit that he, and he alone, was responsible for the tragic death of Boggio. No physical evidence ties Dailey to the crime; however, the Florida Supreme Court refuses to allow him to present new evidence proving his factual innocence based on procedural time bars. 

Florida leads the nation in death row exonerations and “makes more mistakes than any other state in sentencing innocent people to death,” the bishops noted. “There is strong evidence that James Dailey’s death sentence was yet another failure of justice.”

Dailey’s execution is scheduled to take place on Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. at Florida State Prison in Starke. If carried out, his execution will be Florida’s 100th since the reinstatement of the death penalty in the 1970s. This is the third death warrant signed by DeSantis.  

Prior to Dailey’ scheduled execution, Catholic faithful and members of the community will gather across Florida at over 30 locations to pray for the victims of violent crimes and their families, for those on death row, for the governor as he confronts the decision to proceed with the execution, and for an end to the use of the death penalty. 

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