Ian S. Seitel, attorney, Ian Seitel P.A.
Last week: Last Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Florida's death penalty scheme is unconstitutional, largely because it requires a judge rather than a jury to make findings necessary to impose the death penalty. Sadly, the U.S. is one of five countries that most often impose death on its citizens, the others being Saudi Arabia, China, Iran and Iraq. 156 people sitting on death row have been exonerated since 1973. While I'm sure Florida's legislature is looking for ways to fix its death machine, it's time we realized that the death penalty not only serves no deterrent but is also disproportionately unfair and barbaric.
Looking ahead: Gun violence and gun control will continue to be an issue that is both disturbing and exasperating to the citizens of this country. When President Obama shed a tear he did so out of compassion for the victims of gun violence, frustration at his inability to convince Congress to provide for even minimal restrictions such as background checks for gun buyers, and anger at the NRA and its millions of lobbying dollars that speak more loudly than mass shootings. While the Second Amendment provides protection for gun enthusiasts, I have a constitutional right not to be shot and killed.