The US Supreme Court granted certiorari in Hurst v. Florida to determine "whether Florida's death sentencing scheme violated the Sixth ... or Eighth Amendment," reported Jurist. The court granted certiorari in light of its decision in Ring v. Arizona, in which it held that a sentencing judge, sitting without a jury, may not "find an aggravating circumstance necessary for imposition of the death penalty."
In the case before the court, Timothy Hurst was convicted and sentenced to death in 1998 for one count of first degree murder. It was found that the murder was "especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel," and thus justified the death sentence. Although it was found that Hurst suffered from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and thus was of "limited intellectual capacity," the court did not consider this as mitigation, and thus did not assign it any weight.
The high court has already agreed to hear an Oklahoma case, this year, on lethal injection.
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