A battle of priorities in Florida

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott
Associated Press

In 1988, Marshall Lee Gore raped, strangled, and stabbed a 30-year-old victim, then dumped her body into a Miami trash heap. He was also found to have killed another young woman, whose body was found months later. Gore was sentenced to die for his crime, and the execution was scheduled for yesterday.

But the state of Florida did not kill Gore as planned. The reason why might surprise you.

There is no graver responsibility and act of state government than an execution. In Florida this week, a campaign fundraiser takes precedence.

Attorney General Pam Bondi persuaded Gov. Rick Scott to postpone an execution scheduled for [Tuesday night] because it conflicted with her re-election kick-off reception.

“What’s going on down there? It’s ridiculous,” said Phyllis Novick, the Ohio mother of one of Marshall Lee Gore’s victims, when told Monday about the reason for the delay.

Sure, it’s important when a state is prepared to kill one of its own citizens, but (a) re-election kick-off receptions only happen once every four years; and (b) this is Florida, where things are a little … different.

Bondi now concedes this wasn’t a smart move, telling the Tampa Bay Times, “[W]e absolutely should not have requested that the date of the execution be moved.” (Note the use of “we,” as the state Attorney General avoids direct responsibility.)

Daily Kos’ Hunter added, “In the meantime, Attorney General Bondi’s re-election event will continue as planned, and so far nobody is contemplating what ought to happen to an attorney general who manipulates state execution schedules so as to not conflict with her fundraising events.”

Let’s also not overlook the fact that Bondi has also championed the “Timely Justice Act” aimed at – you guessed it – speeding up executions in Florida.