Note: The jury apparently accepted the absurd defense argument that Valdes, who had bootprints all over his chest, hurled himself against the bars of his cell repeatedly, essentially beating himself to death.--Jonathan Wallace

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Statement After Acquital of the Prison Guards Accused of Murdering Frank Valdes

For Immediate Release

15 February 2002

Contact: Abe Bonowitz: 800-973-6548

Murder. Impunity. Responsibility? Accountability?

No one questions that a murder occurred - or that it was perpetrated by State employees. No one questions that. But none of the murderers will be held responsible for their actions. We should ALL question THAT.

Frank Valdes was on death row, but he was not sentenced to be beaten and stomped to death by those assigned to guard him.

When a common citizen commits a crime, the State bends over backwards to hold him or her responsible and accountable. Why is it that when a murderer wears the uniform of a state corrections officer, there is no accountability? Who is responsible for the murder of Frank Valdes?

If the individuals who beat and stomped Frank Valdes to death are not accountable and responsible for their illegal behavior, then who is? Who shall the state hold accountable for this murder? Department of Corrections Secretary Michael W. Moore? Governor Jeb Bush? The people of the State of Florida? Will no one be held accountable?

A murder has occurred. And now, with the acquittal of those who were there, a crime will go unpunished, and a clear message is sent to corrections workers across the state: "Beat them. Kill them. You may act without fear. You may act with impunity".

Tonight every parent of a prisoner, every spouse, every child - anyone with a friend or relative serving time in a Florida prison - they all live in greater fear. "Is my loved one next," they ask?

The State of Florida is currently under a 'de-facto moratorium' on executions. It doesn't matter. It is no longer necessary to follow the law in order to kill prisoners in this state.

Abraham J. Bonowitz
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP)
PMB 297, 177 U.S. Highway #1, Tequesta, FL 33469

Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty works for restorative justice in the form of effective alternatives to the death penalty. It does so by

# supporting and coordinating the work of organizations and individual
# educating and energizing the general public and state legislators
# supporting the many persons affected by capital crime and punishment
# advocating specific legislative improvements