Is Anybody Awake Out There?
I Was In Prison
Online Prison Ministry Newsletter
September 24, 2007
Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed
Florida Catholic Bishops’ Campaign against the Death Penalty

Dale S. Recinella and Dr. Susan M. Recinella are the featured speakers in this program on the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty in America. The Bishops of Florida have approved this series of presentations to educate Catholics and interested others about Church teaching on the death penalty. Attendance by catechists, educators, Respect Life coordinators, and Peace and Justice Committee members is particularly encouraged. The program will be offered in every diocese in Florida during 2007. At the following two locations, books will be available for purchase and signing.

Diocese of Venice
Saturday, October 27, 2007
1:30-4:30 p.m.
St. Ann Hall, Bishop Nevins Academy
4380 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, Florida
Contact: Marina Kopko (941) 441-1112
Sheila Hopkins (Florida Catholic Conference): (850) 205-6826 or shopkins@flacathconf.org

Dale Recinella will be speaking on Catholic Teaching and the Realities of the American Death Penalty from Up Close at the following forums (books will be available for purchase and signing):

Statewide Florida Respect Life Conference
Saturday October 13, 2007
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Quorum Hotel
700 N. Westshore Blvd.
Tampa, Fl 33609
Contact: Sabrina Burton (727) 344-1611
Sheila Hopkins (Florida Catholic Conference): (850) 205-6826 or shopkins@flacathconf.org


Is Anybody Awake Out There?
By: Dale Recinella

A crucial issue is slipping by our radar. An issue that serves as a lynchpin for whether or not our society is moral, or for that matter even civilized.


The issue is this: Is it Constitutional to execute the innocent?

Many of us are familiar with an earlier incarnation of this battle. This issue raised its ugly head in the abortion question in the Seventies. The real social and moral issue underlying Roe v. Wade was the constitutionality of killing innocent human beings. Our Supreme Court skirted the issue, dancing in the penumbras of a dark logic, and espoused a tortured analysis that questioned whether an unborn child is human.

Thus began the culture of the fetus—a strange “through the looking glass” world where nothing is what it seems. Unborn children had always been born human, but maybe they aren’t really human, at least not until some indefinable point in time. That indefinable point has continued to slide toward birth and still defies anchor—even at the point where the healthy child is killed in the midst of delivery.

Perhaps a people who can abide such barbarity will also accommodate killing full-grown innocent human beings. We are there, making footfall on that very shore.

In an obscure case in Missouri, a prison inmate named Amrine was facing the death penalty for the murder of a fellow prisoner. Amrine came before the Missouri Supreme Court with the plea that he is innocent and has the proof. He asked for the Court to grant him the ability to show his proof in court.

The prosecution argued against this. It had been seventeen years since the conviction. Therefore, they said, the Court had no authority to stop the execution of Amrine, even if he is innocent, unless he could prove that in his case there had been a violation of the legal procedures required by the U.S. Constitution.

Fortunately, the Missouri Supreme Court rejected the state’s argument, but only just barely, by a vote of 4 to 3. Brothers and sisters, this is a wakeup call.

Is it true that we have a Constitution that protects our rights to guns and telemarketing but does not empower a State Supreme Court to stop the execution of an innocent man?

In 2003 U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, held “that the federal death penalty is unconstitutional because it creates ‘undue risk’ of executing innocent defendants.” In his opinion he stated that it is “fully foreseeable that in enforcing the [federal] death penalty, a meaningful number of innocent people will be executed who otherwise would eventually be able to prove their innocence.” And that, said Rakoff ... is “tantamount to foreseeable, state-sponsored murder of innocent human beings.”

Pro-death penalty voices disagreed, claiming the U.S. Constitution does not require people to be guilty in order to be executed. National media carried the words of Kent Scheidegger of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, a Sacramento-based nonprofit group that supports capital punishment. He argued that Judge Rakoff is “essentially saying the Constitution requires certainty of guilt before we can execute anyone, and that is not the law.” Is anybody listening? Why isn’t that the law!

Maybe we should have seen this coming. On June 6, 1995, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of South Africa decided the constitutionality of the death penalty under that country’s new constitution. The court distinguished their country from ours, explaining that the U.S. Constitution guarantees only procedures but the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa protects the right to life.

Some of our elected State Attorneys around America are advocating the legal position that Courts have no power to stop the killing of innocent people, no authority to even look at evidence of innocence, unless procedural flaws can be shown in their cases.

Is anybody awake out there?

As Catholics we have a moral duty to confront the culture of death. Certainly this new legal trend qualifies as culture of death.




First published: The Florida Catholic, October 16, 2003 © 2003 Dale S. Recinella & The Florida Catholic. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
No further reproduction or republication without prior written permission.

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This ezine is targeted for people involved in prison ministry or in stopping the death penalty, we think you will find helpful information for people who are undecided about capital punishment, for those who have never experienced the inside of a jail or prison, and for those who feel called to participate through prayer and adoration.

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Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed

If you Like this Weekly Ezine - You will love Dale's Book!
Sr. Patricia Proctor
Paperback: 433 pages

Excellent book on the topic!,
June 13, 2005 Nathan Eanes
(Review from Amazon.com)

The Biblical Truth about America's Death Penalty is a must-read. It deals with Biblical standards of Capital Punishment and then compares them to the system used in America today. It is the best-researched, most faithful to scripture, and most evenhanded analysis I have ever read concerning the Death Penalty. Whatever your persuasion on the issue, this book will teach you a great deal. Recinella is a trained lawyer and committed Christian who now volunteers part-time on Florida's death row. He thus understands law, the Bible, and the system of execution in America. I challenge anyone who supports the Death Penalty to read this book.



This ezine edited by Sister Patricia Proctor, OSC - Poor Clare Sister
to support the IWasInPrison Outreach