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State News

FL Raising Bar For Death Penalty But May Remain An Outlier

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CA Corrections via Wikimedia Commons
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The House has approved changes to the state’s sentencing system requiring at least ten jurors agree before recommending the death penalty.  But the Senate’s proposal requires unanimity.

After an initial bid of just nine jurors to recommend capital punishment, House lawmakers amended the requirement to ten in an effort to find a compromise with the Senate.  But Mark Schlakman from the Florida State University Center for the Advancement of Human Rights says the state Supreme Court has been calling for unanimity since 2005.

“So more than ten years the legislature has been on notice that the Florida Supreme Court was strongly in support of unanimous jury recommendations of death,” Schlakman says.

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Hear the extended interview here.

While the chambers are at odds on the question of a penalty recommendation, both agree the jury should reach unanimous agreement on factual elements known as aggravating factors.