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Conservatives, Catholics, Innocent People Exonerated From Death Row, Others Call on Gov. DeSantis to

So Far, Courts Have Declined to Review New Evidence of Innocence Citing Procedural Rules; Governor Has Duty to Prevent Execution of Innocent Man

(Tallahassee, FL)A broad array of local and national organizations – including the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops; Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty; Catholic Mobilizing Network; and Witness to Innocence, a group of innocent people who were exonerated from death row – delivered letters this week calling on Governor DeSantis to grant a clemency hearing to James Dailey, an innocent man whose stay of execution expires on December 30.

“Please schedule a clemency hearing. There is significant evidence of innocence that the courts have not yet considered, primarily due to procedural bars. However, it should never be too late for someone sentenced to death to prove their innocence,” wrote the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops. Read the full letter here:

“We … hold firm in our belief that justice is not served by the conviction – and certainly not the execution – of someone who is innocent, and there is considerable new evidence pointing to Mr. Dailey’s innocence … Conservatives have a long tradition of supporting the use of executive authority as a proper expression of the separation of powers,” wrote Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty. Read the full letter here:

“[T]he same types of evidence that led each of us to be exonerated are also present in James’ case. The only difference allowing us to be spared from execution while James is set to be killed, is whether or not the evidence had the chance to be fully reviewed,” wrote Witness to Innocence. Read the full letter here:

As the Witness to Innocence letter noted, law enforcement never found any physical or forensic evidence or eyewitness testimony connecting Mr. Dailey to the crime. The Assistant State Attorney who prosecuted Mr. Dailey recently admitted to the Tampa Bay Times: “It was a circumstantial case, it’s not like there was an upstanding citizen eyewitness to the case. So speculation is all we have as to what happened.”

“[We] do not forget the undeniable pain of the victim in this case, 14-year old Shelly Boggio, as well as the grief of her family. As a Church, we pray for the healing and peace of all victims of violent crime. We do not, however, condone the state’s planned execution as a form of justice - especially the execution of someone not responsible for the crime,” wrote Catholic Mobilizing Network. Read the full letter here:

Mr. Dailey’s innocence case was the subject of an exhaustive investigative New York Times Magazine cover story which revealed that he was sent to death row on the word of Paul Skalnik, a well-known jailhouse “snitch,” child sex offender, and con man. The Assistant State Attorney who called Mr. Skalnik as a witness against Mr. Dailey later stated she would not use him again because she could not trust his testimony was true. Jack Pearcy, who is serving a life sentence for the same crime, has confessed on at least four occasions that he was solely responsible for the murder, including in a sworn affidavit.


To speak with one of Mr. Dailey’s attorneys, please contact Margot Friedman at

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