THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
THE DEATH PENALTY IS "ALIVE" AND WELL IN OUR GREAT STATE OF FLORIDA ........
For those of you that have been following the never ending saga of Florida's Death Penalty Statute, you know it has been through the "Ring"er and back a few times over the past couple of years.
In January of 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Florida's death penalty law in Hurst v. Florida because the trial judge, rather than the jury, was responsible for finding critical facts necessary to impose a death sentence. Then, in Perry v. State, the high court struck down an amended version of the statute, which had permitted judges to impose a death sentence if 10 or more jurors recommended death.
The Florida Supreme Court also ruled that the unanimity requirement would apply to death-row prisoners whose direct appeals had been decided after the United States Supreme Court's June 2002 decision in Ring v. Arizona which held that capital defendants had a right to a jury determination of all facts necessary to impose the death penalty.
Well now the State Legislature has gone and done it again. They made sure that the first bill passed by both houses of the legislature would address the death penalty statute. And Governor Scott barely waited until the ink was dry when the bill reach his desk. Last night, he signed the new death penalty statute into law. Scott signed SENATE BILL SB-280, which had passed the Senate by a vote of 37-0, into law. (The Senate Bill tracked the language in House Bill HB-527, which passed the House by a vote of 112-3).
The key language in the new law states:
921.141 Sentence of death or life imprisonment for capital felonies:
2(c) If a unanimous jury determines that the defendant should be sentenced to death, the jury’s recommendation to the court shall be a sentence of death. If a unanimous jury does not 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.
SAD NEWS TO REPORT .......
DENISE KELLY JOHNSON has passed away.
You may not have known her despite the fact that she worked at the State Attorney's Office for the past 22 years. But she was a force inside the office. She was the Chief of the Child Support Enforcement Division and she oversaw more than 20 attorneys in that division that were assigned to work with parents who needed help obtaining child support from a parent who had not met their child support obligations.
She had suffered a stroke as she was leaving the office to attend the Investiture Ceremony of KFR on February 23rd. Although she was released from the hospital last week and had begun physical therapy, she died suddenly on Friday at the age of 61.
The DBR covers the story here.
Our prayers go out to her family and to all those that worked with her at the State Attorney's Office.
CAPTAIN OUT .....