President Office — Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2017
Florida Senate Passes Legislation to Require Unanimous Verdict in Death Penalty Cases
The Florida Senate today passed Senate Bill 280, Sentencing for Capital Felonies, by Senator Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee), which revises sentencing requirements in capital felony cases to require a unanimous jury verdict, rather than a certain number of jurors, for a sentencing recommendation of death.
“This legislation ensures that our state has a constitutionally-compliant system of justice in place for both the families of victims and the individuals charged with serious crimes,” said Senator Bracy. “This important legislation removes ambiguity from our death penalty statute, which will help reduce delays in due process for all parties involved in death penalty cases.”
“This legislation satisfies the constitutional requirements announced by the Court in the Hurst and Perry opinions, and is consistent with the position the Senate took last year when we considered legislation requiring a unanimous jury verdict in capital cases,” said Senate President Joe Negron (R-Stuart). “This bill will make certain that death penalty cases in Florida proceed in a timely manner.”
In October 2016, the Florida Supreme Court determined in Hurst v. State that in order for the death penalty to be imposed, the sentencing phase jury must vote unanimously for a death sentence. The Hurst v. State ruling was applied to the 2016 death penalty sentencing statutes challenged in Perry v. State.