THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE: WHITEY BULGER ARRESTED! The legendary boss of the Boston Mob, on the run for almost 16 years, was arrested in California last night. The NY TImes has the info here.
DOM is in Tampa for Buju's sentencing the Herald reports here.
Yes! Says Federal Judge Jose' Martinez, because the Florida scheme for death allows a Judge and not a jury to sentence a defendant to death and does not require unanimity by the Jury. (In Florida a jury must be unanimous for conviction on stealing a lollipop, but not for sentencing someone to die. Lollipops require unanimity, death a mere majority.)
Your favourite Federal Blogger broke the decision and story on his blog. This being a quasi-state/quasi-federal issue he did not violate the borders between the blogs and cause another blog war similar to the clone wars (which as you will recall erupted when thousands of star systems seceded from the Galatic Republic and the small planet Naboo was blockaded.)
Here's the Palm Beach Post article on the decision.
Applying Ring, Judge Martinez held that the Florida scheme fell short of due process:
There are no specific findings of fact made by the jury. Indeed, the reviewing courts never know what aggravating or mitigating factors the jury found. It is conceivable that some of the jurors did not find the existence of an aggravating circumstance, or that each juror found a different aggravating circumstance, or perhaps all jurors found the existence of an aggravating circumstance but some thought that the mitigating circumstances outweighed them. ... After the jury's recommendation, there is a separate sentencing hearing conducted before the judge only. ... The defendant has no way of knowing whether or not the jury found the same aggravating factors as the judge. Indeed, the judge, unaware of the aggravating factor or factors found by the jury, may find an aggravating circumstance that was not found by the jury while failing to find the aggravating circumstance that was found by the jury. ... This cannot be reconciled with Ring.The case is Evans v. McNeil, 08-14402-CIV-JEM. The petitioner was represented by Capital Collateral Regional Counsel.
If you open your window right now and listen closely that sound you hear is a dozen or so death penalty lawyers in Miami writing motions to declare the death penalty unconstitutional.
See You In Court.