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    The four roshei yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ, Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, Rav Yeruchom Olshin, Rav Dovid Schustal and Rav Yisroel Neuman, have signed a kol koreh encouraging people to write to Governor Charlie Crist of Florida, imploring him to grant clemency to Martin Grossman, a death-row inmate scheduled for execution this coming Tuesday.

    Thousands have been writing to the Governor to ask him to allow Mr. Grossman to repay his debt to society by serving the rest of his life in prison.

    Mr. Grossman was convicted of killing Margaret Parks, a Florida Wildlife Officer in 1984, when he was 19 years old. The crime was committed when Mr. Grossman was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, 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.

    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.

    Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Gedolah Zichron Moshe of South Fallsburg, and Rav Chaim Epstein, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Zichron Meilich in Brooklyn, have added their signatures to the kol koreh.


    Dear Governor Crist,

    I am writing to implore you to consider commuting the impending execution of Martin Grossman to life in prison without parole.

    Although I am somewhat conservative politically, and a supporter of the death-penalty as punishment for certain crimes, I believe that this case may warrant clemency.

    The details of the actual crime committed – the murder of a young police officer in the line of duty – are horrific. In ordinary circumstances I would be in full agreement with the imposition of the death penalty for such a crime. This case has two factors that I request be considered in sparing Martin Grossman from the death penalty; his age at the time of the crime and his mental status.

    1) A nineteen-year-old is not fully capable of adult decision making. States recognize this in imposing a 21-year age limit on the purchase of alcohol. As a member of the Jewish community I had to ask myself if I’m being honest in requesting clemency due to Martin Grossman’s age or simply due to appeals I read in community publications. I am comfortable saying that this belief that nineteen is too young to face the death penalty has nothing to do with who Martin is. Many years ago when actor Bill Cosby’s son was tragically murdered, my initial thought was “I hope the killer is caught and executed”. Once the murderer was captured and it turned out he was nineteen years old, I no longer thought he should face the death penalty – he was too young.

    2) A teenager – a young adult – with an IQ of 77 is not a normal functioning person. While he may survive in society with a menial job, he lacks the intelligence and thinking skills most of us enjoy in our day-to-day lives. He is capable enough to know right from wrong, and he does deserve to be punished for his terrible crime. Nonetheless, his significantly reduced mental capacity should be a reason to spare him from the most severe punishment society has to offer. Allowing a borderline-retarded person to be executed would be a blot on the state that permitted it.

    This is not a request for forgiveness.

    This is not minimizing the horrible crime and the tragedy of a young police officer’s life cut short.

    This is a request that Martin Grossman be given the next-most severe punishment allowed by law – Life Without Parole – instead of execution.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.


    You wrote so eloquently. I sent an e-mail to the governor, but ICOT, your words were more compelling than mine. I hope he listens. The thing is, had I not known it was a Jewish man who committed the killing, I probably would be a hypocrite and feel he deserves what he gets. That disturbs me on so many levels, but I do wish the death penalty were applied more frequently to those who have deliberately and without question, violently taken someone’s life.


    Historically, there is no rachamim in the American justice system for Yidden.





    It’s amazing that we have not heard from our ultra liberal brothers in the American Jewish Congress, American Jewish Committee, ADL of B’nai B’rith, NJCRC, United Jewish Communities, movements of the Reform or Conservative or Reconstructionists, or the organized Florida Jewish agencies. When Crist doesn’t hear the protests from these entities, he figures that this is not a big issue to the Jewish voters or Jewish big bucks in Florida so why bother.


    Cherrybim, you make an excellent point, one which I had not even considered. Where are these phony liberals who have persistence and hang on like pit bulls on behalf of every choleriah drug addicted murderer and rapist in town, but cannot muster up the graciousness to defend one of their own?


    Oomis: You wrote so eloquently. I sent an e-mail to the governor, but ICOT, your words were more compelling than mine. I hope he listens. The thing is, had I not known it was a Jewish man who committed the killing, I probably would be a hypocrite and feel he deserves what he gets. That disturbs me on so many levels, but I do wish the death penalty were applied more frequently to those who have deliberately and without question, violently taken someone’s life.

    THIS! I, too, sent a letter simply because he is a Jew.

    Thanx for posting the Gov’s email


    I got an email reply from Gov. Crist he said he signed the death warrant on 1/12/10


    I sent the following email and I received the following response which is posted after. It was apparently a canned response. (Which I guess I can understand based on the volume of emails)

    The Honorable Governor Crist,

    I respectfully ask you to consider delaying the planned execution of Mr. Grossman for 60 days so that a complete, meaningful application for clemency can be prepared, presented and be reviewed.

    While there is no way to bring office Park back and there is no way I can possibly fathom the pain and hurt the Park family is enduring, and a horrible crime was committed, I feel that the ultimate punishment does not seem warranted in this case based on my understanding of the surrounding circumstances.

    The power vested in you by the voters of Florida is great as is no more evident than the power you have now to extend one’s life.

    Please use that power to give an opportunity for Mr. Grossman to put forward a meaningful plea for life while he continues to pay his debt to society.

    Most respectfully yours,


    I recieved the following response :

    Thank you for contacting me and sharing your concerns about the execution of Martin Grossman.

    On December 13, 1984, Mr. Grossman violated the terms of his probation by leaving Pasco County and having a stolen firearm in his possession. In a routine stop, Florida Fish and Wildlife Officer Margaret Park found the weapon. When she reached for the radio in her patrol car to report him, Mr. Grossman attacked her with her own large flashlight, beating her over the head and shoulders 20 to 30 times. When Officer Park tried to fight back, Mr. Grossman took her .357 Magnum revolver and shot her in the back of the head, killing her.

    Mr. Grossman took several carefully planned steps to cover up this horrible crime. The weapon was buried, and Mr. Grossman attempted to burn his clothes and shoes, which were later disposed of in a nearby lake. The following day, Mr. Grossman thoroughly cleaned the van and changed its tires to mislead law enforcement.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.


    can someone please update me as soon as it i sknown, that he ws officially executed-rachmana litzlan!!!!!!!!!!!

    i wana know when to stop saying tehillim!!!!!!


    If everything happened exactly as stated, it is hard to not want retribution for such a heinous act of violence. It is only because Martin Grossman is a Jew, that I wanted his sentence commuted to life imprisonment with no parole. If it were anyone else, I would want justice to be served with a death penalty. We are hypocrites if we do not acknowledge this, and if it were some other non-Jewish drug addict, I would not care that he was a teenager, and I would not care if he were a model prisoner. If it was my family member that he killed, lo aleinu, I would want to see the final justice done. Death by lethal injection is a far more merciful one than that which Officer Parks experienced. It’s really true that everything comes down to whose ox is being gored. Has anyone heard any news of what happened? Usually when an execution is set for a given date, it happens right at midnight of that date.


    Baruch dayan emes. Sad whatever the case is.


    This is really insane, and that is the plea that should have allowed Grossman to live.


    I just sent this email to the Governor:

    With all due respect to the office of Governor,

    Although the information you quote may or may not be as accurate as you provide, the fact is that the “boy” at the time was not in his right mind, neither at the time of the crime nor any immediate time thereafter. He was a product of a dysfunctional home, a dysfunctional individual on self-medicating drugs to numb his own pain. He did not commit a pre-meditated crime although he did commit a horrific crime. He did not have the intention that night to go out and hurt someone although that was the result of his going out that evening. Kids on drugs do not think clearly and their reactions to fear and confrontation is not to back down quietly and submit, quite the opposite. Listing the details of the attack does not change the facts which you did not list in reference to the current victim which is Martin himself.

    No one asked for his release. No one asked for his pardon. No one asked that he be forgiven or excused. However, we all asked, including the Pope himself, that he be understood or at least his circumstances be understood, and he be allowed to live imprisoned and confined for the rest of his life. Prison is not a vacation and it is not a resort as we all know. So life in prison is quite a punishment. Having no freedom, no privacy and very little privilege other than what you earn on your own from your own appropriate behaviors, is an appropriate penalty for taking the life of another individual and that is why most states abolished the death penalty.

    It was in your hands whether or not to allow this man to be killed and you played G-d. But you are not G-d, you are a human being. No excuse me, that is giving you too much credit. YOU are a politician who cares more about staying in office and pleasing your future supporters. But what you forgot to take into account is that many of your constituents are Jewish and Catholic. They will not forget that the Pope got involved and asked you for clemency. They will also not forget just how many people begged for mercy for this individual who was not a premeditated murderer but a rehabilitated prisoner.

    Governor Crist, I just want you to remember when you do lose the election that YOU are not in charge, G-D is. People do make mistakes in their lifetime and this might have been the biggest mistake you will have made in your entire career. I know that Mr. Grossman will rest in peace from now on, but how will you knowing that you put this man to death?

    With sincere regret,

    A very disappointed individual.


    And I just sent a letter to the governor thanking him for his public service, regretful that this was his decision, but with my sincere hope that it was not made lightly, and best wishes for the future.


    and a P.S. How about supporting organizations that reach out to kids early (not a plug for Oorah, NCSY, Project YES, etc. but if the shoe fits…) so that no one has to go down this path again.

    YW Moderator-42

    Interesting, this is the same Governor Crist who put a note in the Kossel asking Hashem to spare Florida from Hurricanes.


    I hope I can convey how very grateful my heart is to everyone who advocated for Martin and to stop those involved from murdering a contrite human. At this moment and in our shared pain and grief you may not realize all the good you did, the education of some and spreading the message of mercy.

    I apologize that I am of another faith and don’t know the proper words to convey. But I feel more compelled and inspired than ever to do everything possible to kill the DP in the USA.

    Our society can not be blessed while we are so inhumane. This is the same Governor who recently refused to consider banning juvenile sentences and not even listen to experts and research. I pray more eyes were opened today to the inhumanity of Crist, McCollum, Alex Sink, everyone on the Clemency Board.

    Meanwhile, Casey Anthony is a million frequent dream team lawyer miles away from DP.

    In my Christian religion, Martin sounds very much like he became a martyr, inflamed with faith, carried his cross, faced his fears and conquered it all be the grace of G-d. I will never forget what Martin did for the cause. Rabbi Katz of course said it much better and I am in awe of everything he relayed.


    I am still not certain what happened – was Martin Grossman executed, nebbich? Chaval al hakol. This is a very tragic circumstance ad if he was executed today, then two lives were wasted. I grieve for his victim, too. She did not deserve what happened to her. This is a no-win situation, that is for certain.


    oomis unfortunately he was executed! Baruch Dayan Hamemes! and your right its def a no-win situation!


    Yes, Martin Grossman was executed Tuesday evening. He was pronounced dead at 6:17 pm.

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