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Ring v. Arizona

Retiring Justice gives final voice of reason on Florida’s death penalty

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There are some things that only lawyers can explain. This is one of them. But I defy them to make sense of it. Just in time for Christmas, the Florida Supreme Court in two cases last week gave new leases on life to 213 convicted killers but turned down about 173 more. The only difference between the two groups is the turn of one page on the calendar. Those whose sentences — or new sentences after appeal — became “final”…

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After Asay decision, anti-death penalty advocates call for commutations

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The state’s leading death penalty opposition group is calling for more than 200 Florida death row inmates to have their sentences reduced to life imprisonment. Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP) says a Florida Supreme Court decision on convicted killer Mark Asay out Thursday means that many are “entitled to be resentenced.” The court determined that this year’s U.S. Supreme Court opinion, Hurst v. Florida, requiring Florida juries—not judges—”to (determine) the facts necessary to sentence a defendant to death”…

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High court: Florida death penalty system is unconstitutional

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(UPDATED) The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down Florida’s controversial system that allows judges, and not juries, to decide whether or not convicted criminals deserve the death penalty. The high court ruled 8-1 against the current system, with only Justice Samuel Alito dissenting. The court sided with Timothy Lee Hurst, who was convicted of the 1998 murder of his manager at a Popeye’s restaurant in Pensacola. A jury divided 7-5 for death, but a judge imposed the sentence. Under Florida…

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Martin Dyckman: Will U.S. Supreme Court rule Florida’s death penalty unconstitutional?

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For 13 years, Florida’s death penalty process has been on thin ice at the U.S. Supreme Court. The Legislature has pretended not to notice even though the state Supreme Court sent an early warning. Now, the ice is cracking. On Monday, the high court agreed to consider whether Florida’s law conflicts with its 2002 opinion in Ring v. Arizona that the jury, not the judge, must determine the existence of aggravating factors to support a death penalty. Florida law leaves…

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