Avoiding the Florida Death Sentence

A Florida man was recently put to death by an experimental drug called etomidate, which is an anesthetic that had never been used for a U.S. execution before, according to the New York Daily News. Midazolam, which has been used in the past in the place of etomidate, is no longer allowed to be used in executions. Etomidate was the first of three drugs administered in the execution, and shortly after it was injected, the man’s feet made small jerking motions and his mouth opened before becoming still a few minutes later. In another groundbreaking moment, this was the first execution of a white man for killing a black man in the state of Florida. The inmate denied killing that man, though admitted to one other whom he had killed. If you have been charged with murder, it may be tried as a capital crime, which can be punished by death.

Murder Capital Crimes

According to Florida statute 921.141, the death penalty may be applied to murder charges if at least one of the following conditions apply:

  • The defendant has already been convicted of a felony and is imprisoned or is on community control or probation;
  • The defendant has already been convicted of another capital felony or any felony that involved the use of threat or violence against another;
  • The defendant knowingly created a risk of death to many others;
  • The capital offense occurred during burglary, arson, robbery, sexual battery, kidnapping, aircraft piracy, aggravated child abuse, abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult that resulted in great bodily harm, or while using a destructive device or bomb.
  • The capital offense was committed in order to avoid or prevent an arrest, or while escaping custody;
  • The capital offense was committed for pecuniary gain;
  • The capital offense was committed to disrupt government function;
  • The capital offense was particularly cruel, heinous, or atrocious;
  • The capital offense was committed in a “cold, calculated, and premeditated manner” with no pretense of legal or moral justification;
  • The victim was a law enforcement officer or elected public official on duty;
  • The victim was under 12 years old;
  • The victim was particularly vulnerable because of age, disability, or the defendant was in a position of familial or custodial authority.
  • The defendant is a gang member;
  • The defendant was a designated sexual predator; or
  • The defendant is subjected to a restrictive order or foreign protection order and the victim was the person who obtained the order or was a close family member.

Non-Murder Capital Crimes

Certain drug trafficking crimes and sexual battery crimes can also be charged as capital crimes in Florida. However, the death sentence cannot be applied to sexual battery capital offenses, and it would be exceedingly rare for a defendant of a drug offends to be tried with the death penalty.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

There are many legal defenses to take when confronted with allegations of a capital murder, and an experienced attorney will answer your questions about the next step to take. Contact the West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys of the Skier Law Firm today to learn how to proceed.

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