The Florida Supreme Court Tuesday took up a case that could spell trouble for the state’s new capital sentencing system. The court is deciding whether Florida should require unanimous jury recommendations for the death penalty.
In January the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated Florida’s death sentencing system. Now Florida’s high court is considering how the ruling applies to inmates waiting on death row. Their decision could change the sentences of nearly four hundred men and women.
Florida’s high court is deliberating the fate of Timothy Hurst—the death row inmate whose case prompted the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out the Florida’s capital sentencing scheme. But some on the bench have doubts about newly passed sentencing procedures.
The Florida House is moving forward with a new capital sentencing scheme after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the existing system just over a month ago. But even with last minute changes, lawmakers are hesitant to completely embrace unanimity.
In its Hurst versus Florida ruling, the US Supreme Court found Florida’s death penalty sentencing scheme unconstitutional. Now it’s up to the Florida Legislature to fix this system, but the question is how.