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Florida Supreme Court says not all death row inmates entitled to relief despite unconstitutional sentencing scheme

December 22nd, 2016 by Mike Vasilinda

Nearly half of the 384 people who woke up on Florida’s death row this morning may be getting a new sentencing hearing. In three separate rulings today, Florida’s high court ruled that some but not all death row inmates are entitled to a new sentences. The state has already been preparing to send some inmates back to the general prison population.

The Florida Supreme Court drew a line in the sand, ruling in the case of Mark Mosley,  that inmates sentenced after The Ring V Arizona case in 2002 are entitled, at the very least, to a new sentencing hearing. It used the case of Mark Assay, who was convicted of multiple murders in 1988 to say the Ring decision was not retroactive to cases decided before 2002.

The court said 45 percent of the inmates on death row, that’s 172, were all sentenced after Arizona V ring, and that means they are likely entitled to relief.

Prior to the Courts ruling, the Department of Corrections had been making plans to begin emptying death row id necessary.

“If we have to integrate them back into the general population” says Secretary Julie Jones  “we have to be very carful how we do it.”

The state remains without a valid sentencing scheme after last years non unanimous  jury law was thrown out. Senate President Joe Negron told reporters earlier this week the state will wait for the legislative session to enact what he hopes is a requirement for unanimous juries.

“That actually strengthen the efficacy of a jury verdict, on appeal, for it to be a unanimous verdict” says Negron.

The courts decisions are almost certain to be appealed on the grounds that it’a not fair to execute one person and not another \for the same crime based solely on what year the murders were committed.

The Court cleared the way for the Governor to sign another death warrant for Mark Asay, but not until the two week period for lawyers to ask for a rehearing expires.

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