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Monday, March 07, 2016
FLORIDA'S NEW DEATH PENALTY STATUTE
THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
HOUSE BILL 7101 - FLORIDA'S NEW DEATH PENALTY STATUTE
The Florida Legislature wrangled over several drafts of the rewrite of Florida's Death Penalty law before finally coming to agreement last month. The House voted 93-20 and the Senate's vote was 35-5. Today, without much fanfare, Governor Scott signed the bill into law.
And so now the real battles begin. It will be fought by the Public Defender Offices and Regional Counsel Offices throughout the State of Florida as new death penalty cases are filed. It will be fought on an appellate level - as of March 7, 2016, there are currently 389 inmates on Florida's Death Row. (For a list of those - go here ).
HB-7101 takes effect immediately. The law requires that juries in capital cases agree unanimously on the aggravating factors that Florida law requires to justify imposition of a death sentence. The law also requires at least 10 of 12 jurors to agree on a recommendation of death. Only one other state, Alabama, has that system.
Here are the highlights of HOUSE BILL 7101:
782.04 Murder (1)(b):
(b) In all cases under this section, the procedure set forth in s. 921.141 shall be followed in order to determine sentence of death or life imprisonment. If the prosecutor intends to seek the death penalty, the prosecutor must give notice to the defendant and file the notice with the court within 45 days after arraignment. The notice must contain a list of the aggravating factors the state intends to prove and has reason to believe it can prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The court may allow the prosecutor to amend the notice upon a showing of good cause.
Sentence of death or life imprisonment for capital felonies; further proceedings to determine sentence
(2) FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED SENTENCE BY THE JURY:
(b) The jury shall return findings identifying each aggravating factor found to exist. A finding that an aggravating factor exists must be unanimous. If the jury:
1. Does not unanimously find at least one aggravating factor, the defendant is ineligible for a sentence of death.
2. Unanimously finds at least one aggravating factor, the defendant is eligible for a sentence of death and the jury shall make a recommendation to the court as to whether the defendant shall be sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or to death.
(c) If at least 10 jurors determine that the defendant should be sentenced to death, the jury's recommendation to the court shall be a sentence of death. If fewer than 10 jurors determine that the defendant should be sentenced to death, the jury's recommendation to the court shall be a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
The Tampa Bay Times covers the story here.
CAPTAIN OUT .....