Posted by on January 24, 2023 8:46 pm
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DeSantis pushes for end to death penalty unanimity requirement

FILE – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks after being sworn in to begin his second term during an inauguration ceremony outside the Old Capitol on Jan. 3, 2023, in Tallahassee, Fla. DeSantis’ administration has blocked a new Advanced Placement course on African-American studies from being taught in high schools, saying the class violates state law and that it is historically inaccurate. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) Lynne Sladky/AP

DeSantis pushes for end to death penalty unanimity requirement

Jack Birle January 24, 08:01 PMJanuary 24, 08:01 PM Video Embed

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is pushing to end a required unanimous jury vote for death penalty cases in the state because the shooter in the 2018 Parkland school shooting escaped the death penalty in 2022.

DeSantis made the plea at the Florida Sheriffs Association Winter Conference on Monday. He argued that even a “supermajority” would be better than the required unanimous vote.

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“Fine, have a supermajority. But you can’t just say one person. So maybe eight out of 12 have to agree? Or something. But we can’t be in a situation where one person can just derail this,” DeSantis said, expressing his frustration with the current system.

Nikolas Cruz was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole after three of 12 jurors recommended against giving him the death penalty. Currently in Florida, all 12 jurors must vote for the death penalty and a judge must approve it in order for someone to receive capital punishment.

DeSantis also said people who would never opt for the death penalty should not be permitted on juries when the matter will be voted on.

“If you will never administer the punishment, you just can’t be on the jury. Our law authorizes it. But you’re in a situation where you have 12 jurors, and just one juror vetoes it, then you end up not getting the sentence,” DeSantis said.

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Florida’s current death penalty statute has been in place since 2017. The Supreme Court struck down the previous law, which permitted a simple majority to recommend capital punishment and allowed a judge to override the recommendation.

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