The death penalty is still in limbo here in Florida, and as Matt Galka tells us, it could remain that way for some time and ultimately be up to the high court.
Florida’s legislature thought they’d be fixing death penalty sentencing problems earlier in 2016. Instead, they may have to try again.
“The most single biggest issue is going to be the death penalty,” said Rep. Chris Sprowls (R-Clearwater).
Sprowls will lead the House Judiciary Committee this upcoming legislative session. They’ll have to tackle an October ruling from the Florida Supreme Court again calling for unanimous juries when recommending the death penalty.
The ruling came after the legislature changed Florida’s laws to require 10 out of 12 jurors to recommend death.
“Part of us is looking at what the U.S Supreme Court is going to do, but as we roll into committee weeks and into the session, obviously it’s an issue that’s hanging over us and one we’ll have to look at,” said Rep. Sprowls.
And Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says she’ll be appealing the October ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. The move by Florida’s supreme court leaves the door open for new sentencing trials for some inmates on Death Row.
“We’re waiting on clarification, I don’t want to comment on that yet. The opinion was not…not vague, it left many questions for us as to what to do next, and we just want to do it the right way,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi.
The legislature could choose to do nothing at all and wait until the legal challenge plays out.