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Rex Dimmig

Unanimous jury bill unanimously OK’d in House

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A bill requiring a unanimous jury recommendation for a death sentence was unanimously cleared by a House panel Wednesday. The Criminal Justice Subcommittee OK’d the bill (HB 527) by Rep. Chris Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican. But the approval was after several public comments that the legislation didn’t go far enough to truly overhaul the state’s capital punishment system. In 2016, the Legislature passed and Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill requiring at least 10 of the 12 members of a jury…

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Public defender: Fees for pleas lead to unequal justice

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Criminal defendants in three central Florida counties often face a stark choice, a public defender says: Pay hundreds of dollars in fees that help fund the prosecutors’ office, as a condition of reaching a plea deal, or face trial and risk stiffer punishment. Now public defender Rex Dimmig says that the practice creates unequal treatment for the criminal justice system’s poorest defendants. “My office only represents indigent people, and they ought to be entitled to the same punishment for the…

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