Claudine Clark



Do you believe in forgiveness? Whether it is religious or not, forgiveness is a value that is taught to us from a very young age. What would the world be without forgiveness? A world filled with hatred, where revenge would be the order of the day.

Human beings change and act according to their environment and their experience. Donald Dillbeck, whose execution is scheduled for February 23rd at 6PM local time, comes from a chaotic life path. An alcoholic mother who left him with irreparable brain damage due to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and a father who abandoned him at the age of 6 resulting in his placement in various fosters. It is at this precise moment that the system abandoned this child, an innocent child unable to face life, who should have been taken care of psychologically well before reaching the point of committing the irreparable.

His drift will continue until he is placed in prison for a murder committed at the age of 15. There again he will come up against a harsh environment, filled with hatred and violence.

The prison system should be filled with forgiveness, turned to rehabilitation, encouraging people to become better people, treating the mentally ill and helping the addicted to leave their addictions. But here again the only observation is that of failure, the failure of our society to forgive and reach out to its citizens when they need help.

Evolving in unfavorable conditions and unsuited to his mental condition, Donald Dillbeck committed again the irreparable on June 24, 1990. At this point many will think that Donald is a monster or that he is simply destined to kill, it is not so, he is a reflection of the continuous failures of our society to take care of traumatized children, parents who can’t cope, alcoholics, drug addicts, the mentally ill, people who don’t fit into the good old mold formatted by a society of appearances where everyone must be perfect.

But since then Donald has come a long way, a long way of more than 3 decades on Florida death row, facing himself every day in a cage forcing him to fight against himself. During this journey to hell Donald has become a different man, a man, who for those who know him shows kindness and goodness every day.

However, in a fit of political aspiration and outright impulse, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis decided to make this man a martyr, wishing to use him to overturn a court ruling that made the death penalty in Florida unconstitutional in the absence of a unanimous jury. Yes, with a vote of 8 in favor and 4 against today, Donald Dillbeck could not have received the death penalty, but he was sentenced before 2002 and unconstitutionality seems to be a temporal concept for the Florida justice system, because only men who were sentenced to death after 2002 were offered the opportunity to be resentenced in case of a death sentence with a non-unanimous jury. Fair? No, it is not, but the system is not intended to be fair, it is intended to serve the political aspirations of others at the cost of human life.

Vial With Pentobarbital Used For Euthanasia And Lethal Inyecion In A Hospital

Florida is about to murder Donald Dillbeck on February 23, 2023, will you oppose it? Will you show forgiveness to him? If your answer is no, then you will have to show forgiveness to a murderous society that abandoned the child of incompetent parents when he needed it, leading him to his doom, and that is about to put him to death because he is a reflection of our own failure…

Claudine Clark
French Coalition Against the Death Penalty President

About the Author
Claudine Clark is president/founder of the French Coalition Against the Death Penalty. An abolitionist, paralegal and human rights consultant, her passion stems from her origins as the granddaughter of Warsaw ghetto survivors. She defends human values of forgiveness and tolerance through numerous actions.