Florida Govt. Ron DeSantis (R) has signed a bill that would eliminate the need for a unanimous jury to recommend the death penalty, “reducing the number of jurors [needed] to recommend the death penalty to the minimum extent of any State with capital punishment,” CNN They say.
SB 450, which allows the jury to recommend the death penalty with an 8-4 vote, was prompted after a jury decided against the death penalty for Nikolas Cruz, who died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida. Was the gunman responsible for the 2018 mass shooting at the high school. Cruz received a life sentence without the possibility of parole after three of the 12 jurors voted against the death penalty, leaving “some family members of the victims disheartened and upset,” says CNN.
“Once a defendant in a capital case is unanimously found guilty by a jury, a juror should not be able to impose the death penalty,” DeSantis said in a statement. “I am proud to have signed legislation that will prevent families from tolerating near Parkland families and ensure that proper justice will be served in the state of Florida.”
Nearly all 27 states that allow the death penalty require unanimous conviction votes. The new limit in Florida, which went into effect when DeSantis signed the bill, falls short of Alabama’s 10-2 majority requirement.
Critics have warned that the new law would make it too easy to carry out the death penalty. “Florida already has the highest number of death row executions in the country,” said Tiffany Lennon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida. said in a statement. With SB 450 and other similar laws, Lennon continued, “Florida is rapidly widening the net of those who will be sentenced to death, with absolutely no consideration for loopholes that essentially Will harm more innocent people.”