Florida Legislators Vow To Fix Death Penalty After Supreme Court Voids Law


Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision striking down Florida’s death penalty law made it a “a great day for justice here in Florida,” state Sen. Thad Altman tells the Miami Herald. “We're going to fix a problem that many of us felt was a serious problem and not really properly and fairly administering the ultimate penalty: death,” he said. Altman is sponsoring a bill that would broadly reform the death penalty, including adding a requirement that jurors vote unanimously to impose death, a change opposed by many prosecutors.

Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero, an advocate of reforming Florida's death-penalty laws, said he believes the nation's high court also will eventually strike down the less-than-unanimous requirement. “The legislature might as well act now and proactively change the law,” Cantero said. “In every other kind of decision a jury makes, it has to be unanimous. Why would imposing the death penalty be any different?” House Criminal Justice chairman Carlos Trujillo said that while his committee will take on a bill to address the Supreme Court's ruling, the unanimity issue will likely go unchanged. The court said the current Florida law gave too much power to judges.

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