Palm Beach Post, July 2023
After overseeing only two executions during his first four years in office, Gov. Ron DeSantis is poised to carry out his fifth in six months, with Brevard County murderer James Barnes set to die Aug. 3. Some death penalty experts say DeSantis’ sudden drive is powered by politics, part of a grim chase of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. While president, Trump set a remarkable record of executing 13 federal inmates during his last six months in office. Trump executed more civilian prisoners during his term than any president since President Grover Cleveland in 1896.
“This is bluster for DeSantis,” said Abe Bonowitz, executive director and co-founder of Death Penalty Action, who has fought against capital punishment for more than 30 years in Florida and nationwide. “He needs a way to equate himself with Trump on this issue. It’s all about looking for help with certain parts of the base.”