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West Palm Beach Criminal Attorney > Blog > Criminal Defense > Changes in Florida’s Death Penalty Law

Changes in Florida’s Death Penalty Law

The death penalty is often a hot topic button for debate. It is a lofty sentence that is the ultimate punishment for any crime. The State of Florida has recently made changes to their long standing death penalty law on grounds that many people believe that the current law is unconstitutional. Many inmates were seeking a review of their case which directed attention to the state requiring a response. Prosecution and defense attorneys may not always see eye to eye about the legal process, but members from both sides have come together to invoke some sort of change in a flawed system.

Florida’s Old Law

The original death penalty law required only a majority vote to hand down the punishment of death. However, the jurors were only able to recommend that punishment to the judge and the judge would be the one to give the final verdict. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately declared this as an unconstitutional approach to sentencing in a death penalty case. In comparison to the rest of the country, other than Delaware, Florida was the only state that did not require a unanimous vote. It is this glaring difference that caused many inmates to fight for their sentences to be transformed into life without parole. It was exactly what was needed to pause the execution for upcoming cases.

Florida’s New Law

The new death sentencing requirements were signed into law by Governor Rick Scott earlier this month. The new law requires the following:

  • The law requires that 10 out of 12 to agree in order to impose the death penalty.
  • Jurors must be unanimous when determining what is considered an “aggravating factor”.

Essentially, a single judge can no longer impose death unless it is recommended by the above-mentioned number of jurors. The focus here is to ensure that each person is given a fair trial with an outcome that suits the crime.  Currently there are 43 death row inmates whose cases are under review pending the new changes in the law.

What Does This Mean?

The new law equates to a major shift in the legal system. While it certainly does not do away with the controversial punishment, it does require more checks and balances through the process. It is said that over 400 inmates will be impacted by the new law and that is a substantial impact, to say the least.  Now, the State of Florida is on par with the rest of the nation when it comes to carrying out serious punishments in court.

Florida Legal Defense

Attorney Scott Skier is located in West Palm Beach, Florida. He has years of experience as an aggressive, results-driven defense attorney. He has built a reputation of seeking justice for each of his clients that cover a wide variety of charges. If you would like to know more about your rights, reach out to him today. Scott Skier can provide you with the guidance and information you need to receive a quality legal defense. Reach out to him today for a free consultation.

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