Seven Jewish Organizations Ask Florida Governor to Grant Clemency to Jewish Death-Row Inmate

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letter-grossman[Letter below.] A letter signed by the executive heads of seven Jewish organizations was sent to Florida Governor Charlie Crist today, imploring him to grant clemency to Martin Grossman, a death-row inmate scheduled for execution next Tuesday, and to allow him to repay his debt to society by serving the rest of his life in prison. The signatories also request a meeting in person with Governor Crist to discuss the matter and better relate the depth of their concern. Mr. Grossman was convicted of killing Margaret Parks, a Florida Wildlife Officer in 1984, when he was 19 years old. “Nothing in our humanitarian plea,” the letter reads in part, “is intended in any way to minimize the horror of the crime Mr. Grossman committed or the tragedy of Ms. Parks’s killing.”

But, the letter continues, the crime was committed when Mr. Grossman was under the influence of drugs and alchohol, and he “has conducted himself as a model prisoner since his incarceration some 25 years ago… [and] has shown profound remorse and regret for his actions.”

A copy of the letter is attached. The organizations signed to it – Agudath Israel of America, the Aleph Institute, the National council of Young Israel, the Orthodox Union, the Rabbinical Council of America, the United Jewish Community Advocacy Relations & Enrichment and the United Jewish Organizations – have also called on their constituents to contact Governor Crist as individuals to plead that Mr. Grossman’s life be spared. The Governor’s e-mail address is [email protected] and his phone number is: (850) 488-7146; he can be faxed at 850-487-0801.

Separately, 200 organizations, Jewish and non-Jewish, have sent Governor Crist a petition requesting a 60-day stay of the execution, in order to properly file an official request for clemency.

Click here to view the full letter.

{Noam Newscenter}


  1. Rabbosai, this is an issue of Pikuach Nefesh mamish. It is incumbant on every Yid to act as a Bnei Rachamim, and heed the call of Gedolei Yisroel shlita and make that call the Governor’s office! Continue to inundate his office with pleas for mercy!

    Act now!

  2. It is unfortunate that these organizations are not concerned about the backlash of antisemitism they will cause. You will notice that they didn’t make the explicit plea, “We want you to spare this man because he is a Jew.” They made the case that he was only 19, was high on drugs and alcohol, and that the murder was not premeditated. All of these issues have been raised numerous times on appeals and motions for the past 25 years, and they were found without merit. At least if these “Chachomim” could have come up with a new idea for a plea. I am experienced with this type of matter. All Governor Crist hears in this is: “Spare Grossman’s life, he is a fellow Jew who only murdered a gentile!” These organizations never came forward for a gentile who was in a similar circumstance. And if somehow Grossman’s execution will be delayed again (I don’t believe he will be commuted) then mark my words, there will be a backlash of antisemitism from the non-Jewish public!

  3. Well written letter.
    I want to believe that he will not only be saved from death, but that he will be given a chance to start a new life outside prison walls.
    Some may call me a dreamer, but I call myself a believer in the Almighty.
    Yeshuas Hashem Keheref Ayin.

  4. It is simply absurd for these organizations to support clemency just because the condemned is Jewish. This is a MASSIVE Chilul Hashem, and these organizations have lost all credibility going forward.

  5. Contact the Governor!!

    If anyone wants to help with this really big mitzvah of saving a fellow jew please write and call the Office of Governor Charlie Crist.
    Address-State of Florida
    The Capitol
    400 S. Monroe St.
    Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

    * Citizen Services Hotline: (850) 488-4441
    * Executive Office of the Governor Switchboard: (850) 488-7146
    [Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time]

    Fax: (850) 487-0801

  6. I cannot believe the stupidity of those who say we are only doing this because he is Jewish. Ofcourse we are. Who else will stand up for him if not us. The Halacha is clear: One must do everything possible to save the life of a fellow Jew. I have already written to Gov Crist and I urge everyone else to do so.

  7. Dag,
    the only thing thats absurd is your anti establishment bias. Clearly many of these leaders are at least as smart as you.
    As for losing your respect,sorry to see you go.

  8. let this be a lesson: STOP VOTING REPUBLICAN and you wont have to worry about these kinds of things cuz in their so called “culture of life” they just looooove the death penalty. you reap what you sow. you dont want the exectution then dont vote for death penalty republicans. there are probably doezens if not hundreds of black death row inmates who had similar or wo\rse childhoods and lives like or than grossman who dont get the repreive you peopel are begging for,.

  9. I can’t wait for the next anti-Semitic murderous Islamic jailhouse convert is sentenced to death. When the Nation of Islam, the Arab American Council etc. start pressuring the governor for their wonderful prized Muslim. How can any Jews complain?

    These organizational heads claimed they represent Orthodox Jewry’s opinion on the death penalty. This is not the consensus of most Jews and Governor Crist WILL be made aware of this.

    This letter is chutzpah beyond the pale.

  10. #4 and #6 you are very mistaken. If you are afraid of what Crist will think, there are many liberal Jewish groups that voice opposition to the death penalty and will come out in defense of anyone about to be executed. The question as far as Crist is concerned is does Grossman deserve the death penalty according to the law. There is reason to believe that he does not. For example, the murder was NOT premeditated, he was drugged and so on. As far as very visibly Orthodox Jewish organizations coming to the defense of a fellow, yes, if you had a relative who was in death row, your level of emotional and practical involvement would be different than in the case of a stranger. For all the factionalism is some areas of life, just slightly beneath the surface Jews truly do feel a sense of kinship and responsibility towards each other, even fellow Jews who they don’t know, possibly as a non-Jew might feel towards, say, a second cousin in trouble. It is nothing to be embarrassed of or to apologize for. Jews have been at the forefront of social justice and have contributed greatly to the world in all areas, not just among themselves. Jewish brotherhood is perfectly legitimate and if you don’t feel it, check into your yichus to be sure you are Jewish.
    For those of you who care, if you want to email a letter, here’s a sample letter I composed. Change it to fit your style:

    Governor Charlie Crist
    State of Florida
    The Capitol
    400 S. Monroe St.
    Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

    Dear Mr. Governor Crist,

    I respectfully request that you reconsider your action of signing Martin Grossman’s death warrant.
    His crime was abhorrent, inexcusable and deserves severe punishment. Nevertheless, he was a teenager at the time under influence of drugs. From what I understand, Mr. Grossman has expressed sincere regret for his actions and has undergone rehabilitation in prison. His crime was not premeditated murder that would warrant the death penalty. It would appear that life in prison without parole would be a far more fitting punishment and that justice will not be better served in this case by taking the drastic and irreversible step of taking another human life.
    You are known to be a thoughtful and humanitarian governor. I therefore once again reiterate my request for you to check into the matter once again and seriously reconsider your position.
    With gratitude,

  11. I just found this online somewhere (not in regard to this matter)and think that it is kedai to mention here at this time. We are not saying that the issue is only that he is a Jew or that only a Jew deserves to be judged and treated fairly. The point is that we have an additional chiyuv as the the Rambam says.

    Rambam this week
    11 Tishrei 5762

    Prohibition 297: neglecting to save an Israelite in danger of his life

    By this prohibition we are forbidden to neglect to save the life of a Jew whom we see in danger of death and destruction, and whom it is in our power to save. It is derived from the Torah’s words (Lev. 19:16): “Neither shall you stand idly by the blood of your neighbor.” (The prohibition also applies to withholding evidence.)

  12. I can’t believe that Jewish people here are so cold blooded and have the audacity to say that saving a Jew from the death penalty would cause a “massive chillul Hashem” when it’s just the OPPOSITE! YOU who are supposedly Jewish and have no feeling for your brother are the ones causing the “MASSIVE CHILLUL HASHEM”. Shame on you!

    How did some Jewish people get so low? What is causing such heartlessness amongst our Jewish nation? Why is it that some Jews are embarrassed about their Jewishness and trying to be “just like the rest of the world” believing very foolishly that the goyim would respect us more or like us better? If anything, it’s just the opposite. When the goyim see the ahavat Yisrael and Jews sticking up for each other, they admire us and look upon us Jews as the light unto nations.

    It seems that it is only those who have real yirat Shamayim and ahavat Yisrael that know and understand what ‘kol yisrael areivim zeh lazeh’ means. May we merit to see secular Jews including conservative and reform follow the path of their religious forefathers with at least the ahavat Yisrael the true Orthodox Jews possess.

  13. Please fellow yidden call Governor Crist! I signed the petition and I called. It only takes less than two minutes of your time to help another yid.

  14. At, is the following essay, which pretty clearly, explains the issues of this case:

    (I will quote it in full)

    Martin Grossman Does Not Deserve To Die

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    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 be executed on Feb. 16th.

    National Council of Young Israel, Agudath Israel of America, Orthodox Union, Chabad, Satmar, and 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 and considered.

    The case of Martin Grossman is gaining national attention. In 1984, Grossman was a 19-year-old drug-addicted high-school dropout with a juvenile record for trespassing. He and a friend, Thayne Taylor, drove to an isolated nature reserve to fire a found handgun. A wildlife officer stopped them, searched their car and confiscated the gun. Martin, who is reported to have an IQ of 77, 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, whereupon 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 Grossman’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 from the Aleph Institute, who has visited Martin regularly over the past 15 years.

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

    Concerned citizens are encouraged to call (1-850-488-7146) or email the Governor and ask for clemency and mercy for Martin Grossman, and to sign the online petition.

    Organizations or individuals who can assist in this emergency effort are asked to contact Rabbi Zvi Boyarsky at [email protected] / 718-415-2221 or Rabbi Moshe Matz at [email protected] / 305-532-2500″


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