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Florida governor signs bill eliminating unanimous consent of jury for the death penalty

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Thursday signed a bill into law that allows juries to recommend the death penalty without unanimous consent.

For a jury to recommend the death penalty under Florida law, the jury must unanimously confirm there was an “aggravating factor” present to warrant capital punishment. Aggravating factors include if the crime was especially cruel or heinous, if it was committed for money, or if the victim was under the age of 12, among others. Then, the jury can make the decision whether to recommend the defendant receives the death penalty. Previously, there had to be unanimous consent to recommend the death penalty. Under the new law, only eight out of twelve jurors must favor capital punishment. If this margin is not met, the defendant will receive life in prison without the possibility of parole.

DeSantis said of the bill:

A few months ago, we endured another tragic failure of the justice system. Today’s change in Florida law will hopefully save other families from the injustices we have suffered. I’m proud to sign legislation that will prevent families from having to endure what the Parkland families have and ensure proper justice will be served in the state of Florida.

This bill became a focus for the Florida legislature after a jury convicted the 2018 Parkland shooter of 17 counts of first-degree murder and received a sentence of life in prison after three jurors voted against the death penalty.

This comes after the Death Penalty Information Center called 2022 the “Year of the Botched Execution” in a report highlighting racial disparities, problems administering lethal injections, and other issues with the capital punishment process in the US.

Article: Florida governor signs bill eliminating unanimous consent of jury for the death penalty

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