Save Martin Grossman

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Community Leaders Seek to Prevent Execution:

Both Jewish and non-Jewish community leaders are petitioning Florida Governor Charlie Crist for an emergency stay of execution for death-row prisoner, Martin Grossman, scheduled to for Feb. 16th. 

 National Council of Young Israel, Agudath Israel of America, Orthodox Union, Chabad, Satmar, Rabbinical Alliance of America, are amongst a list of 200 organizations pleading with the Florida Governor to grant a 60 day stay which would enable for a comprehensive clemency application to be presented to the court.

 The case of Martin Grossman is gaining national attention. Mr.Grossman, who in 1984 was a 19-year-old drug-addicted and high-school drop-out with a juvenile record for trespassing. He and a friend, Thanye Taylor, drove to an isolated nature reserve to fire a found handgun for fun. Meanwhile, a wildlife officer stopped them, searched their car and confiscated the gun. Martin, who is reported to have an IQ of 77, and a history of epilepsy, panicked and began pleading with the officer not to report him as he would be in violation of his probation. When she reached for her radio a struggle ensued, which resulted in the officer reaching for her own gun. Then Martin panicked, snatched her gun and shot her. A psychiatrist who evaluated him concluded, from his psychological and medical condition, that he could not have formed the intent to kill. Taylor served less than three years in prison while Martin was sentenced to death.
Mr. Grossman has been on death row for over 25 years!

The petition argues that the death sentence meted out to him is disproportionate in the extreme and that his defense was inadequate. Only one percent of murder sentences end in capital punishment, crimes commonly referred to as "the worst of the worst."

The petition further argues that Martin's crime, considering the lack of premeditation, his drug addiction, his IQ level, and several other compelling factors does not qualify for the death penalty, and that the court ignored mitigating circumstances. Only four of thirty-three available defense witnesses were used in the sentencing phase. Additionally, there are allegations of prosecutorial misconduct as well. A fellow prisoner and key witness for the government swears that he lied at trial, and that he was rewarded by having his own charges dropped. Martin's appeals regarding these issues have been rejected without hearings, but they could be considered in a clemency petition.

"Martin has shown deep and profound remorse over the years, and is no longer the same wild reckless person he was 26 years ago" argues Rabbi Menachem Katz of the Aleph Institute, who has visited Martin regularly over the past 15 years.

As of this release, Governor Crist has thus far not agreed to grant a stay. Execution is set for NEXT TUESDAY!- February 16 at 6:00 PM.

We URGE YOU to call, fax or email the Governor and ask for clemency and mercy for Martin Grossman:
Phone: 850-488-7146 Fax: 850-487-0801   email:
here is the phone and fax number for his senate campaign headquarters (He is running for Senate): Phone: 850-907-1218 Fax: 850-907-1219 
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Those organizations or individuals who can assist in this emergency effort are asked to contact
Rabbi Zvi Boyarsky at / 718-415-2221
Or Rabbi Moshe Matz at mmatz@agudathisrael 305-532-2500

Rabbi Shimon Weiss at 845-537-1324
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Honorable Governor Crist,

We the Undersigned write to you In the interest of justice, and urge you to stop the execution of Martin Grossman, who is scheduled for execution on February 16, 2010. Mr. Grossman was sentenced to death for the 1985 murder of Margaret Park and has been on death row for 24 years. 

While we have tremendous sympathy for the family and friends of Margaret Park, and am mindful of the pain and grief that they have experienced, I believe this case deserves a second look.

We are particularly concerned that this execution may take place in spite of serious questions about Mr. Grossman's mental health and the quality of his legal representation.  

Not only was Martin just 19 years old when the murder took place, but the defense presented no expert mental health testimony as to his mental state at the time of the crime.  A forensic psychologist hired by Martin Grossman's lawyers several years after his conviction concluded that Mr. Grossman had "compromised intellectual functioning, probable brain dysfunction", and a “developmental history characterized by profound and untreated complicated bereavement.”

Governor Crist, I strongly urge you to demonstrate your respect for justice and human life by granting clemency and commuting Martin Grossman’s death sentence.

Thank you for your consideration of this most serious matter.


the undersigned

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