@Davidovalle305 has done a superb job detailing the arrest and prosecution of South Florida's notorious "pillowcase rapist". In the late 1980's, before there was Starbucks and texting and people "beeped" each other, Miami was terrorized by a rapist. Then the investigation died out and life moved on. Last week there was a break in the case and ASA Laura Adams, no stranger she to important prosecutions has been assigned the case. We could not think of a better choice.
Check out Ovalle's Herald story here.
DEATH PENALTY REDUX
Just when you thought it was over, the Florida Supreme Court, in an earth shaking, law making, Supreme Court Cert in waiting per curiam opinion (literally "too embarrassed to sign our names")
receded from their Hurst opinion and decided amongst other things that Florida juries do NOT have to have to unanimously recommend death.
This is shameful. It ignores all of the US Supreme Court precedent and direct findings that Florida's prior sentencing scheme was unconstitutional. It's mindboggling that with such a serious ruling the opinion here is issued per curiam. Shameful.
You can read the opinion here and decide if you need to shower afterwards.
From the decision:
The [Supreme] Court ultimately held that “Florida’s sentencing scheme, which required the judge alone to find the existence of an aggravating circumstance, is therefore unconstitutional.
Nonetheless, this Court on remand concluded that Hurst v. Florida had far greater implications for Florida’s capital sentencing law. The new rule announced in Hurst v. State was as follows:
[B]efore the trial judge may consider imposing a sentence of death, the jury in a capital case must unanimously and expressly find all the aggravating factors that were proven beyond a reasonable doubt, unanimously find that the aggravating factors are sufficient to impose death, unanimously find that the aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors, and unanimously recommend a sentence of death
So there we have it. Florida joins the rest of the country requiring a unanimous jury recommendation of death. Something even Texas requires.
But it just didn't sit well with those gals and fellas in Tallahassee and points north. "Y'all can't let defendants off with some high priced fancy lawyer reasonable doubt argument. Make em prove their innocence and hang em from the nearest tree." was pretty much the chatter in the legal and lawmaking halls of our great and educated state.
Well, how do you get this Supreme Court to overrule the last Supreme Court? We mean we cannot have judges legislating lord forbid. They just call balls and strikes.
Time for some legal yoga. Bend a little this way. Stretch a little that way. Give lip service to stare decisis. Expound on not overruling a recent decision lightly. Take a deep breath and feed the meat to the public that wants executions. The quicker the better. No worries about actual innocence. Don't let jurors get in the way of a good lynching.
Last, lest there be any doubt, we hold that our state constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment, article I, section 17,5 does not require a unanimous jury recommendation—or any jury recommendation—before a death sentence can be imposed.
These legal conservatives are many many things. Just don't ever argue that they are philosophically consistent. They are not. When their ox is gored they do what is needed to clean up the mess, even if it means legislating from the bench.
JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG
WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM. Winner of the prestigious Cushing Left Anterior Descending Artery Award.