Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Florida: Unanimous Verdict Not Needed for Death Penalty

Florida is the only state in the nation with a death penalty that does not require a unanimous jury to recommend a sentence of death.

A simple seven to five vote is all that is required. That's not say that Florida never requires unanimity.

For instance, if the government wants to take a person's land to build a new sidewalk and that person disagrees, everyone on a 12-person jury would have to have to say "yes" for the sidewalk to be built. That's right you can take a life without unanimity, but not a person's property.

Convicted killer Larry Mann is scheduled to die at Florida State Prison on April 10. His jury split 9 -3.

Since the year 2000, only one in five Florida death sentences has had a unanimous jury recommendation.

Since 2005, in a strongly worded opinion, the Florida Supreme Court has been telling state lawmakers that unless they require a unanimous jury verdict, Florida's death penalty could be declared unconstitutional.

One case arguing just that is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Advocates for change say now is the time.

But opponents are quick point out infamous serial killer Ted Bundy would still be alive. That's because his jury split 10-2 on death. Bundy was executed in 1989.

To read more: http://www.news4jax.com/news/Unanimous-jury-death-penalty-requirements-at-stake/-/475880/19272558/-/format/rss_2.0/-/sjflvy/-/index.html

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