The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether Florida’s unusual death penalty sentencing scheme is constitutional. The high court will hear arguments in the case of Hurst v. Florida in the next session that begins in October.
Florida is an outlier in how juries decide whether or not to recommend a sentence of death. It takes only a simple majority vote (7-5). In addition, Florida is the ONLY Death Penalty state where jury votes on aggravating and mitigating factors do not have to be unanimous and are not recorded. Consequently, Florida capital case juries spend relatively little time considering a death sentence. ALL other jury votes in ANY legal matter in Florida require the jury to be unanimous. It’s not surprising that this is the state that sends the most innocent people to Death Row. Read more here.