Supreme Court Rules Against Florida’s Death Penalty Law
Date:  01-20-2016

Four-hundred people on Florida’s death row await clarification of what Court's decision will mean for them
In Hurst v. Florida issued Tuesday, (January 12, 2016) the U.S. Supreme Court found part of Florida’s capital punishment procedure unconstitutional. Previously, a jury “recommended a death sentence by a 7-to-5 vote” for defendant Timothy Lee Hurst, writes Adam Liptak in The New York Times. “The judge then independently considered the evidence concerning punishment and concluded that Mr. Hurst should be executed.” The Court’s ruling found this practice unconstitutional. “The Sixth Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death,” wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the 8-1 decision. “A jury’s mere recommendation is not enough.” Liptak notes that it is “unclear” how the decision will affect the sentences of the 400 people currently on death row in Florida.

Source: Brennan Center for Justice January 15, 2016

Read the Marshall Project’s view on the possible ramifications of the SCOTUS decision for those on death row in Florida.