February 25, 2016
On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment to SB 7068 that requires at least 10 of 12 jurors agree on a recommendation of death. FCCB staff opposed the amendment, which removed the requirement for a unanimous jury decision in order to impose a death sentence. Unanimity is required in every other circumstance when a jury is summoned in Florida. A unanimous jury requirement promotes more thoughtful deliberation among jurors and ensures a more reliable sentencing process.
The bill, filed to address a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that found Florida's system for sentencing a person to death unconstitutional, passed the committee (
) and will go next to the full Senate.
HB 7101, which also contains the 10-2 jury requirement, passed the full House (
) last week. If Florida is to continue to use the death penalty, a 10-2 jury requirement is an improvement over current law that allows a person to be sentenced to death on a recommendation of only a simple majority of jurors (7 of 12).