Tallahassee, Florida – triggered Florida Supreme Court Breakthrough DecisionDozens of state condemned prisoners seeking re-entry do not know what their future holds.
For some, it could mean returning to death row.
Defendants could be sentenced to death in Florida, even if Florida Judges were split for decades. In theory, a simple majority was sufficient.
Robert Dunham, Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), We consider this a dangerous standard.
“If we allow unanimous ju judges to recommend death, the risk of sending innocent people to death row for execution is greatly increased,” Dunham said, saying Florida has a particularly checkered history. I added. 29 acquittals sentenced to death row —Than any other state.
But 2016 Hearst vs Florida The case changed the law and helped shift the state into “unanimous.”
“We are pleased to announce that we have a lot to offer,” said Wayne Logan, a professor of law at Florida State University. “So the Florida Legislature said,” OK, now we are going to demand a unanimous jury decision for death. ” “
As a result, unanimous judicial recommendation for death sentence In 2017, it became a land law.
However, this decision had a retrospective effect. DPIC has declared the death penalty of 157 people unconstitutional, and has since estimated that each of these prisoners was entitled to re-entry.
Bjorn Bramband, a criminal defense lawyer in Clearwater, Florida, recalls the day he shared this news with one of his clients.
“I remember what I was able to tell him. ‘I can help you with a new decision stage. It’s a new opportunity to live,” Branband said.
But last month, the Florida Supreme Court stuck a condemned prisoner and reversed in the case State vs. Pool, Declare Hurst The decision was “wrong it.”
“It is not trivial for one court to conclude that the previous court has clearly made an error,” he read the court summary. “In this case, we cannot escape the conclusion that the Hurst v. State court is wrong, beyond the extent required by the correct interpretation of Hurst v. Florida.”
Logan explained that the composition of the Florida Supreme Court is quite conservative today and likely involved in changing interpretations.
“Here it was very clear that the new majority of courts saw this matter very differently from previous courts,” said Logan.
Ultimately, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in a 4-1 vote that “there is no constitutional requirement” that the referee would be unanimous to execute someone.
“With no doubt, we argue that the constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, Articles 1 and 17.5, require a unanimous jury We don’t think we need the recommendation or the recommendation’s recommendation, “said the court.
The ruling has navigated the fate of these condemned prisoners to the area of uncertainty in the re-execution process. There is growing concern among experts that some of the prisoners will be resurrected.
“The question here will be” What about those who have already been said to be eligible for a res humiliation hearing? “, Said Dunham. Can I pull out the lag retroactively and reinsert the death penalty? “
Brunvand told Fox News that a motion has been filed to recapture his client’s death penalty. He considers it fraudulent.
“I was informed by the Supreme Court that this system was unconstitutional and would be subject to a new trial, and had lawyers begin preparing for the trial, and then suddenly … we might send you back to death row. I can’t imagine it, “said Blancband.
Florida Supreme Court-State v. Pool ruling Defendant Mark Anthony Poole will recapture the death penalty.
In addition, Logan told Fox News that the ruling now opens the saying that state law will change again.
“There is an invitation from the judiciary to the legislative branch. If policy issues require a unanimous death decision, that’s fine,” Logan said.
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, all but one of the 29 states currently subject to death penalty use “unanimous criteria.” Alabama is the only exception.
The Florida Supreme Court’s ruling was immediately repelled for this reason, including by Judge Jorge Labarga, who wrote the court’s lonely opposition.
“In the strongest possible word, I disagree,” wrote Labarga. “The court has taken a great step towards the legitimate application of the death penalty in Florida and removed important safeguards.”
Sharini Goel Agharwal, a lawyer for the Southern Poverty Law Center, also expressed great concern about the ruling. statement:
“ Given the unlawful convictions and racial inequality in the death sentence, it is fundamental to require unanimous jury to ensure impartiality when imposing a final penalty, ” said Agarwal. Said. “There is no rework after execution, which is why unanimity must be a rule.”
In brief, the court has stated that the decision was not constitutional, but merely constitutional. Judge Alan Lawson argues that if the Florida Legislature wishes to change the law, it will certainly take into account the fact that Florida is moving away from national standards.
“ If the Florida Legislature considered the changes in section 921.141 and abolished the requirement of unanimously recommending a jury recommendation before imposing a death penalty, the fact that this amendment would make Florida an ‘outlier’ would Will definitely be considered in political discussions. “Lawson wrote.
Since the state law of 2017 is still in effect, future death sentences will require the unanimous recommendation of a ju jury. Florida Senator Bill Galvano and R-Bradenton told reporters last month that he has no desire to change the law at this time.
“We will not take steps to change or address this in the Florida Senate,” Galvano said.