I am very reluctant to get involved with an obviously parochial political matter. But I feel it is important to encourage everyone to participate in a plea for clemency for a mentally-impaired individual due to be killed by lethal injection early next week.

25 years ago, a 19-year-old man, Martin Grossman, was caught in a park discharging a firearm. This was a violation of his parole on a burglary charge. High on drugs, he shot the park police officer trying to report him.

If we decide that an IQ of 77 reduces a 19-year-old to the maturity of the average 17-year-old, then he wouldn’t be a candidate for the Death Penalty. Indeed, for 25 years he has been a model prisoner and has expressed profound remorse for his thoughtless cruelty. He understands that he will live out his life in jail, one way or the other.

By and large, as I said, I stay away from these cases. But I urge everyone to read the words of Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, and for more details, an amicus curiae brief filed in pleading for clemency in this case. I think and hope you will agree that even strong supporters of the death penalty see room for profound discomfort in this case.

Please write or call Florida’s governor, Charlie Crist, if you share my feelings. His e-mail address is [email protected], his phone number is (850) 488-7146 and he can be faxed at 850-487-0801.

Good Shabbos!

Rabbi Yaakov Menken
Director, Project Genesis – Torah.org

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