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Juries, Death, and Judicial Elections

Article discussing Florida death penalty policy allowing a judge to overrule a jury’s findings to impose a death sentence, and the constitutionality the practice.

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Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court buttressed the pivotal role of juries in capital cases, holding that juries, not judges, must make the ultimate decision of life or death.

In Hurst v. Florida, the Court reviewed Florida’s death penalty rule, which allows judges to impose a death sentence­­ regardless of the jury’s recommendation. According to the Court, Florida’s system of judicial override — similar to systems in Alabama and Delaware — is unconstitutional because “a jury, not a judge, [must] find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death.”  Read more...