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House panel reviews Supreme Court death decisions

January 11th, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

In December, the Supreme Court of Florida ruled that death row inmates sentenced before 2002 would not get a new hearing, while those given death afterwards would, even though all were sentenced under a sentenced under a law declared unconstitutional;. Law professor Michael Allen told the house committee reviewing the opinion that it made no sense whatsoever.

“The Florida Supreme Court’s decision to make the rule retroactive to some people but not others, finds absolutely no support in anything I’m aware of anywhere in the country says the law professor.

Prosecutors have opposed giving all death row inmates a second bite at the sentencing apple. State Attorney Brad King, who prosecutes cases in west central Florida says death is the only appropriate sentence for some crimes.

“Sometimes you can only know that difference if you’ve been a cop like me and been to scenes or been the state attorney and been to scenes, and see the hole that a little girl was buried in, after she was put in a plastic bag alive, after she was rapped and then she was buried and left to suffocate to death and then the question of the death penalty I think becomes a little more real” said an emotional King.

Last Thursday, the state’s high court issued an option saying no death cases can be prosecuted until lawmakers re-enact a unanimous jury requirement, but the court quickly withdrew the opinion, calling it premature.

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