Florida's Unconstitutional Death Penalty Procedure
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Florida's Unconstitutional Death Penalty Procedure

The Supreme Court allowed the death penalty once again in 1976, but Florida's system in this matter is flawed.

Florida's Unconstitutional Death Penalty Procedure
Huffington Post

In 1972, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the death penalty nationwide, declaring it unconstitutional. Since it was reinstated in 1976, Florida became the first state in 1979 to perform an involuntary execution. Since then, 93 executions have been performed.

Recently, Florida has had more backlash on their "unconstitutional" death penalty system. According to Yahoo! News, "Florida's unique system for sentencing people to death is unconstitutional because it gives too much power to judges, and not enough to juries, to decide capital sentences."

Although the Supreme Court made the death penalty legal in all states in 1972, on Jan. 12 the court declared Florida's system unconstitutional, and in the 8-1 ruling, the state's sentencing procedure is "flawed because juries only play an advisory role."

Remember in high school when you had to memorize the amendments of the Constitution? How about the Sixth Amendment, which says you have a right to a fair trial with a jury? A jury makes decisions that are fair and unbiased. Apparently in Florida, the jury doesn't have full control on the death penalty decisions, where the judge can reach a different decision, no matter the jury's ruling. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said, "The Sixth Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death."

This declaration that it is unconstitutional could "trigger new sentencing" for some of the 390 inmates that are on Florida's death row. 390. That's a number only second to California, which had 746 as of July 1, 2015. Although it is unknown whose sentences could be brought back to the courts, it has been reported that this will only apply to the cases whose initial appeals are "not yet exhausted."

Argument from Florida's solicitor general arose that said the system is, in fact, acceptable because the jury first decides if the defendant is even eligible for the death penalty. There was immediate response from Sotomayor, saying that "mere recommendation (from the jury) is not enough." From this decision, the Supreme Court is now overruling all previous decisions that were upheld by the state's unconstitutional process.

According to the Sun Sentinel, the defense attorneys of the 390 inmates on death row have already looked into filing petitions for new sentencing. Two men are still scheduled to be executed in the next two months, though. Currently, there are five women on death row.

While on the topic death row, let's look at the executions since the start of 2016. On Jan. 7, Florida carried out its "first execution of the new year" that killed Oscar Ray Bolin - who was convicted of abducting and killing a 26-year-old woman in 1986 - by lethal injection at the Florida State Prison. Only 30 years later. Two more executions are scheduled for the next few months: Michael Lambrix on Feb. 11 and Mark Asay on March 17. They have both been on death row for about 30 years as well.

The death penalty has been reinstated for 40 years, and there have been thousands of executions since. The outcome of the Supreme Court's decision regarding Florida's death penalty procedures has yet to be reported, but it will probably include giving more power to juries when deciding whether a defendant should, in fact, be sentenced to death.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Leaving My Backpack In The Library

Views about society and the stranger sitting right across from me


As a college student, my backpack is an extension of myself in many ways. It contains my notes, pens, and computer vital for my success in college. It contains the snacks and water bottle I need to survive long days on campus. It also contains the "in-case" items that help put my mind at rest if I forgot something from home: extra hair ties, masks, and that backup-backup snack. With so much in my backpack important to me and my life on campus, it is no wonder that I can get apprehensive about it when it is not with me or in my line of sight. And that makes me wonder.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Cool Gadgets To Make Your Car Smart

Don't let this stop you from making your car smart. You can change the one you have using smart gadgets that transform your car into a smart car.


Cars are no longer just a mode of transport, where you only worry about the engine and how beautiful its interior is. These days, everyone wants to make their cars smarter, those with advanced technology systems. It makes sense for several reasons. It can make your vehicle more efficient and safer when you need to drive.

Keep Reading... Show less

The Inevitable Truth of Loss

You're going to be okay.


As we humans face loss and grief on a daily basis, it's challenging to see the good in all the change. Here's a better perspective on how we can deal with this inevitable feeling and why it could help us grow.

Keep Reading... Show less

'Venom: Let There Be Carnage' Film Review

Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson lead a tigher, more fun sequel to 2018's 'Venom'

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FmWuCgJmxo

When Sony announced that Venom would be getting a stand-alone movie, outside of the Tom Holland MCU Spider-Man films, and intended to start its own separate shared universe of films, the reactions were generally not that kind. Even if Tom Hardy was going to take on the role, why would you take Venom, so intrinsically connected to Spider-Man's comic book roots, and remove all of that for cheap action spectacle?

Keep Reading... Show less

'The Addams Family 2' Film Review

The sequel to the 2019 reboot is an enjoyable, but unremarkable start to the Halloween movie season

Photo Credit: MGM – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd82bSBDE84

There's a reason why the Addams Family have become icons of the American cartoon pantheon (although having one of the catchiest theme songs in television history doesn't hinder them).

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments