A February 2023 report from FOX 35 Orlando found that there are currently 299 inmates on death row in Florida. That number is likely to increase now that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill into law that eliminates the unanimous jury recommendation for the death penalty.
Read on to learn more about what’s in the new Florida death penalty law and how it affects defendants.
What Florida’s New Death Penalty Law Involves
The previous death penalty law in Florida required a unanimous vote to sentence someone to death. However, now a jury decision of only 8-4 is necessary to recommend a death sentence.
Despite the new ruling, the jury must unanimously find that at least one aggravating factor in the statute is present in the case. If the jury cannot find one, they cannot recommend the death penalty.
Right now, there are 22 states with active death penalty provisions, most of which require a unanimous decision. Florida now has the lowest threshold for capital punishment of any state. Alabama is the only other state that doesn’t require unanimity – Alabama law requires a jury vote of 10-2.
How the Law Can Affect Defendants
With the new Florida capital punishment law, prosecutors may be more likely to seek out the death penalty for those charged with a felony.
Because of the adverse effects on defendants, anyone with an impending trial for a life felony, such as murder, sexual battery, or armed kidnapping, should immediately retain a criminal defense attorney.
What Lies Ahead for Death Penalty Laws in Florida?
This isn’t the first time Florida’s death penalty process will work its way through the court system. The law comes on the heels of another bill just signed into law by DeSantis that allows for the death penalty for a child rape conviction. Legal scholars expect both laws to face scrutiny in the court system and eventually make their way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Contact Mike G. Law for Criminal Defense Representation
The new Florida death penalty law makes defendants more likely to face the death penalty in applicable cases.
If you’re facing a criminal charge of any kind, schedule a consultation with one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the state of Florida. At Mike G. Law, we fight for your criminal justice and relieve you of the stress, anxiety, and sleepless nights caused by the challenges you are facing.