Only One-Third On FL Death Row Were Sentenced By Unanimous Juries


Florida has more than 170 people on death row who may not have been condemned to die in any other state. It is the result of its one-of-a-kind law that allows a jury to recommend capital punishment by a simple majority vote, says the Tampa Bay Times. Unburdened by the need to reach a unanimous decision, Florida juries typically don't. Two-thirds of the people Florida has executed since 1995 were condemned to die on the recommendation of fewer than 12 jurors. No other state allows juries to recommend death by a 7-5 vote. Of the 32 states that have the death penalty, 29 require a unanimous vote of 12. Alabama requires 10. Delaware calls for jurors to unanimously agree on whether the defendant is eligible for the death penalty, but their sentencing recommendation can be split.

Only a third of Florida's executions were unanimous — the level required in 29 of 32 states.This month, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Florida's death penalty statute, forcing the state legislature to rewrite it. Although the court did not explicitly address the issue of non-unanimous jury votes, legal experts say this part of Florida's law is in constitutional jeopardy.

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