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MYTH: Unanimity results in less death sentences.
FACT: Death sentences and executions have consistently declined nationally. Even still, since Florida instituted its current capital sentencing statute requiring a jury’s unanimous recommendation for death, Florida has led the country on the number of death sentences imposed. Florida is also a leader in executions.
Death Sentences — Florida maintains the highest death row population in the country of states that continue executions.
- After Florida passed unanimity in 2017, Florida led the nation in death sentences for 4 of the next 5 years.
- 2018: Florida tied with Texas for the highest number of death sentences
- 2019: Florida led the nation with 7 death sentences.
- 2020: Florida led the nation with 7 death sentences.
- 2021: Because of COVID, there were fewer trials in 2021. That year, Florida sentenced 2 people to death, only 2 fewer than Alabama and Oklahoma.
- 2022: Florida again led the nation with 4 death sentences.
- As of March 9, 2023, Florida was 1 of only 4 states to have completed an execution.
- In 2019, Florida completed 2 executions. It was 1 of only 7 states to complete an execution that year.
- As of September 1, 2020, Florida had the 15th highest per capita execution rate in the country.
FACT: Non-unanimity will increase the risk of wrongful convictions
The vast majority of Florida’s 30 death row exonerees were either sentenced to death by non-unanimous juries or sentenced to death by judges who rejected a jury’s recommendation of a life sentence and imposed death instead.
- Annibal Jaramillo (Unanimous for Life)
- Anthony Brown (Unanimous for Life)
- Robert DuBoise (Unanimous for Life)
- Juan Ramos (11-1 for Life)
- Rudolph Holton (7-5)
- Robert Cox (7-5)
- Derral Hodgkins (7-5)
- Ralph Wright (7-5)
- Carl Dausch (8-4)
- Bradley Scott (8-4)
- Andrew Golden (8-4)
- Herman Lindsey (8-4)
- Joseph Green (9-3)
- Joseph Brown (9-3)
- Anthony Peek (9-3)
- Willie Brown (9-3)
- Larry Troy (9-3)
- Juan Melendez (9-3)
- Joaquin Martinez (9-3)
- John Ballard (9-3)
- Clemente Aguirre-Jarquin (9-3 and 7-5)
- Robert Hayes (10-2)
- Frank Smith (Unanimous for Death)
- Seth Penalver (Unanimous for Death)
- DPIC Analysis: Exoneration Data Suggests Non-Unanimous Death-Sentencing Statutes Heighten Risk of Wrongful Convictions. 2020. https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/news/dpic-analysis-exoneration-data-suggests-non-unanimous-death-sentencing-statutes-heighten-risk-of-wrongful-convictions
- FADP: Florida Innocence List. https://www.fadp.org/fl-innocence-list/
- Witness to Innocence: The Innocence Epidemic. https://www.witnesstoinnocence.org/innocence
- Death Penalty Information Center 2018 Year End Report 2018 Sentencing Data.
- Death Penalty Information Center 2019 Year End Report 2019 Sentencing Data.
- Death Penalty Information Center 2020 Year End Report 2020 Sentencing Data. https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/facts-and-research/dpic-reports/dpic-year-end-reports/the-death-penalty-in-2020-year-end-report
- Death Penalty Information Center 2021 Year End Report 2021 Sentencing Data.
- Death Penalty Information Center 2022 Year End Report 2022 Sentencing Data.
- The Death Penalty in 2022: Year End Report, Death Penalty Info. Ctr. (Dec. 16, 2022), https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/facts-and-research/dpic-reports/dpic-year-end-reports/the-death-penalty-in-2022-year-end-report.
- Death Sentences in the United States Since 1977, Death Penalty Info. Ctr., https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/facts-and-research/sentencing-data/death-sentences-in-the-united-states-from-1977-by-state-and-by-year (last visited Mar. 11, 2023).
- Execution List 2023, Death Penalty Info. Ctr., https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/executions/2023 (last updated Mar. 9, 2023).
- Execution List 2019, Death Penalty Info. Ctr., https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/executions/2019 (last updated Dec. 11, 2019).
- State Execution Rates (through 2020), Death Penalty Info. Ctr., https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/stories/state-execution-rates (last visited Mar. 11, 2023).