Tuesday, August 25, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court To Rule On Florida's Capital Murder Scheme, by David A. Brener

The United States Supreme Court granted review in May of a Florida death penalty case which will decide the constitutionality of Florida's capital sentencing scheme.  In Hurst v. Florida, the Supreme Court will decide whether Florida impermissibly permits juries to render an advisory death sentence by a mere majority vote, in contravention of the Sixth Amendment, and whether that lack of unanimity combined with judge sentencing and the lack of specific findings as to aggravating circumstances violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.  Relying on the 2002 Supreme Court case of Ring v. Arizona, the Petitioner, along with amicus curiae briefs submitted by former Florida Supreme Court and trial judges, as well as the American Bar Association, argued that juries, not judges,  should make the factual findings and ultimate determination as to the sentence to be imposed.  They also made a compelling argument that jury unanimity should be required, as both reliability and community  moral standards are enhanced by unanimity of the jury when deciding the question of whether someone should live or die.  This case will be an extremely significant case for everyone connected with death penalty jurisprudence.  The case is scheduled for oral argument on October 3, 2015.

No comments:

Post a Comment