Florida To Privatize Some Death Row Defense Work

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One of three state-financed legal offices that worked to overturned death sentences for convicted killers will be closed as part of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s push to turn the work over to private attorneys, the Miami Herald says.

House and Senate budget negotiators have struck a compromise: close the office closest to Tallahassee and monitor for three years whether private attorneys save the state money.

Bush had sought to eliminate all three offices, suggesting it could speed up appeals and save the state as much as $3.8 million by assigning Death Row cases to private attorneys. Death penalty opponents questioned the timing of the proposal, noting that the agencies recently have been involved in several high-profile exonerations.

The state would compare the performance of the private attorneys with that of the state-paid attorneys in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale.

Link: http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/state/5915409.htm

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