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Death Penalty Fix Moves Forward In Florida Senate

Then Rep. Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee) debating on the House floor.
Mark Foley via FL House website
Florida House of Representatives

Senate Criminal Justice Chairman Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee) wants a more permanent death penalty fix.  But his committee has little interest in revisiting such a contentious issue.

The Florida Legislature seems ready to require unanimous sentences for the death penalty.  But even with that fix, Florida’s procedures remain in a dubious position.   Sen. Randolph Bracy filed, but quickly withdrew, an amendment pushing the courts to offer new hearings for more people on death row.

“My sense is that the majority of the Legislature just wants to deal with the 12-0 verdict of a jury,” Bracy said after the hearing, “and I don’t think there’s an appetite to go past that.”

Florida’s high court took the unusual step of establishing a cut off for new penalty hearings tied to a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.  Defense attorneys are bringing well over a hundred appeals for clients who didn’t make the cut off.