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Wednesday, October 14, 2015
THE DEATH OF THE DEATH PENALTY?
This exchange before the US Supreme Court yesterday may just have killed Florida's Death Penalty Statute
JUSTICE BREYER: Suppose that the jury comes back at the sentencing phase and says, we recommend life...
JUSTICE BREYER: No, we we have they have a page in their opinion, in their brief, you know, Page 20, where it cites about six Florida cases, which suggested to me that they thought the answer to that question as a matter of Florida law was, Yes, the judge can sentence to death.
MR. WINSOR: Yeah. Let me let me
JUSTICE BREYER: Is that so or not so?
MR. WINSOR: Let me be clear: As a matter of Florida statutory law, it is permitted. We acknowledge that under Ring it would not be permitted in the circumstance where the State is relying on the recommendation to satisfy the eligibility...
Let us interpret for you:
Justice Breyer wanted to know if Florida permitted a life override- where a jury recommends life and the judge sentences the defendant to death. Florida law allows such a heinous result.
Winsor- the attorney arguing for Florida, admitted that such a result was both authorized by Florida law and violated Ring v. Arizona.
That sound you heard was defendants everywhere in Florida sentenced to death under such a blatantly unconstitutional scheme cheering. That sound you heard was also bloodthirsty Florida prosecutors weeping in their death cocktails.
Florida's death penalty statute will be struck down faster than a judge downing free hors-d'oeuvres at a judicial reception.
You read it here first.