Juries in Florida recommended 14 men die by lethal injection last year, 10 fewer than 2008, says the Orlando Sentinel. No one can point to a single direct cause for the drop, saying it’s a mix of the economy, a decline in violent crimes. and juries’ reluctance to vote for death.
Justin Heyne, the newest member of Florida’s death row, pushed the state’s death-row population to 391. His death sentence stemmed from his murder of a 5-year-old girl. “There is no justification for killing a 5-year-old,” said prosecutor Wayne Holmes. “If you are going to have the death penalty, those are the type of cases where it should be used.” Because life without parole is available, more juries may be settling for that. All states that have the death penalty have the option of life without parole, so jurors don’t have to fear that a convicted killer could eventually go free.