The State of Florida is scheduled to execute Donald Dillbeck on 23 February 2023. Now aged 60, he was sentenced to death in 1991 after only eight jurors voted for the death penalty under a law since found unconstitutional. His lawyers are seeking recognition that his neurobehavioral disorder is akin to intellectual disability and should exempt him from execution under constitutional law. They also maintain that the prosecution’s use of his prior conviction for murder to support the death penalty is undermined by new evidence that reveals more mitigating than aggravating factors than the original jury heard in this regard.
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Office of Governor Ron DeSantis
State of Florida
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001, USA
Dear Governor DeSantis,
Donald Dillbeck is scheduled to be executed in Florida on 23 February. He was sentenced to death in 1991 after the jury voted 8-4 for the death penalty. That sentencing scheme was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 2016. Donald Dillbeck is among those to whom that ruling does not apply, not because of the facts of their cases, but the timing of them. As one Florida Supreme Court Justice said, this left constitutional protection depending on “little more than a roll of the dice.”
Since trial, Donald Dillbeck has been diagnosed with Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (ND-PAE). His adaptive and cognitive deficits have been described by medical experts as “functionally identical” to the criteria that the US Supreme Court recognized in 2002 as requiring exemption from execution of people with intellectual disability.
I urge you to grant Donald Dillbeck a reprieve and to work to ensure his death sentence is commuted.