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Florida Supreme Court Allows Death Penalty Cases To Move Forward

Florida Supreme Court building in front of blue sky
Nick Evans

Florida’s high court is giving the green light for death penalty prosecutions to proceed as statutory fixes near passage in the Legislature.

The Florida Supreme Court’s Monday ruling will allow capital cases to go forward with new jury instructions requiring a unanimous recommendation.  State law says only 10 of 12 jurors must agree, but a Supreme Court decision last year demanded all twelve reach the same conclusion.  The Court’s position is at odds with an earlier, vacated ruling from January.  At the time the court chalked up the opinion’s release to a clerical error.  Meanwhile the central question may be moot—legislation to require unanimous juries in Florida’s capital cases seem likely to pass in the opening weeks of this year’s session.