Legislature Sends Unanimous Jury Death Penalty Bill To Governor For Signing

Mar 10, 2017

Credit Nick Evans

Florida lawmakers have approved a fix to the state’s death penalty sentencing system that if approved by Governor Scott, will require unanimous jury recommendations.

Most states require a unanimous jury to recommend a death sentence but Florida has been an outlier, in the past requiring only 7 out of 12 jurors. Last year, lawmakers tried to change the law to a 10-2 decision but the Florida Supreme Court struck that down as well. Representative Chris Sprowls’ measure is a direct response to the court’s concerns regarding unanimity.

“They were willing to look at all of the aspects of the death penalty statute and the only aspect they raised a constitutional concern about is this one," he said.

The legislature is hoping approval of the measure will put the death penalty issue to bed for a while. Approval by Governor Rick Scott would bring the state in line with the majority of others.