FL Case Could Force Re-Sentencing 1/3 of Death Row

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The Florida Supreme Court has signaled that a significant portion of the state’s death row population could need to be re-sentenced, the biggest fallout yet from January’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the state’s death sentencing law is unconstitutional, reports BuzzFeed News. The court last week ordered Richard Franklin to be re-sentenced for the 2012 murder of a prison guard because the jury was not unanimous in its recommendation of a death sentence. The ruling could be the sign of a potential coming upheaval in the nation’s second largest death row. “At a minimum, we’re looking at dozens of re-sentencings, if not hundreds,” said Robert Dunham of the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment.

It was not immediately clear how far back the decision would reach in its effect on the state’s 385 inmates on death row. The court’s ruling signaled that the high court decision could affect a larger group. About 130 inmates, one-third of death row, would need to be re-sentenced. If the court holds that the unanimity requirement applies to the state’s entire death row population — a question not addressed in last week’s case — the number would jump even higher and as many as 290 inmates would need to be re-sentenced. The U.S. Supreme Court held in the case of Timothy Lee Hurst’s case that the state’s death sentencing law was unconstitutional because the judge, not the jury, made the decision to sentence a person to death.

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