Protect People with Serious Mental Illness from the Death Penalty

Since the enactment of Florida’s current death penalty statute, our understanding of the full impact of serious mental illness has evolved. Today, with the benefit of science, we know that people with serious mental illness are inherently less culpable for their actions as physical and chemical processes in their minds lead to substantial shifts in their perception of reality.

Furthermore, once these individuals are arrested they are less able to fully understand legal proceedings and may make choices that harm their ability to defend themselves.

Ohio recently enacted a law excluding people with serious mental illness from the death penalty. This law received broad bipartisan support and was approved based on the evolution of our understanding of serious mental illness. Now it's time for Florida to do the same.

I urge you to co-sponsor H.B. 1251 (Aloupis) and S.B. 770 (Brandes), pending legislation that would exempt individuals with serious mental illness from the death penalty.