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Timothy Lee Hurst

Justices rejects Florida appeal over death penalty

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The Supreme Court has left in place a lower court ruling that said imposing a death sentence in Florida requires a unanimous jury. The justices on Monday turned away an appeal from Florida officials seeking to overturn the ruling last year from the state’s highest court. The Florida Supreme Court had struck down a newly enacted law allowing a defendant to be sentenced to death as long as 10 out of 12 jurors recommend it. That ruling concluded that Timothy…

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Pam Bondi wants court to clarify death penalty ruling

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Attorney General Pam Bondi, warning that murder trials across the state could be placed in limbo, has asked the Florida Supreme Court to clarify a sweeping death penalty ruling it handed down last week. In two linked cases, the court first concluded that death sentences must require a unanimous jury and then struck down a newly enacted law that allowed a defendant to be sentenced to death as long as 10 of 12 jurors recommended it. In the rulings, the…

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Florida’s high court urged to throw out death sentences

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With the fate of hundreds of Florida death row inmates in limbo, a group of former top judges and legal officials called on the state Supreme Court to impose life sentences on nearly 400 people now awaiting execution. The group, which includes three former state Supreme Court justices and two former presidents of the American Bar Association, filed a legal brief Tuesday in a case that could determine the fate of Florida’s death penalty. After the U.S. Supreme Court declared…

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Legislators promise to keep death penalty, fix law

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Saying it’s time to put the “death penalty” debate to rest, the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature began taking its first steps Wednesday to find a way to preserve executions in the state. State senators spent hours with prosecutors, former judges, and defenders to come up with a way to respond to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. The nation’s highest court earlier this month found that Florida’s death penalty procedure is flawed because it allows judges — not juries — to…

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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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