Death sentence in Florida deemed flawed

Presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who ordered 21 executions during his eight years as governor of Florida, held the record until governor Rick Scott was elected.
In recent years, many governors have been veering away from the death penalty, and it has been used less often.
That trend has recently been broken here in Florida, with Scott ordering the death of 23 people in the last five years.
Although Florida only executed two people in 2015(down from eight in 2014), the nonprofit research organization Death Penalty Information Center found the state to have “outlier practices” when it comes to administering the death penalty.
In 2015, 28 people were executed in the United States, which is the lowest amount since 1991, and 49 people were sentenced to death.
Only six states carried out executions; Florida, Texas, Georgia and Missouri accounted for 93 percent of all executions in 2015.
In 2013, Scott signed a bill into law aimed at quickening the death penalty process, forcing the state to execute someone six months after their death warrant is signed contrary to the 154 inmates that have been on Florida’s Death Row for around 20 years and the 10 that have been there for more than 35 years.
The bill, which passed the House 84-34 and was approved by the Senate 28-10, gives the governor more control over the execution schedule because it requires him to sign a death warrant after the required clemency review is completed and only the governor may order the clemency investigation.
The clemency provision was added at the request of Scott’s lawyer, Pete Antonacci.
The clemency investigation allows for the state Parole Commission to conduct an off-the-record review of the entire case and recommend whether the death warrant should be signed or the sentence commuted.
In essence, this allows the governor to request an investigation, and quickly sign it off off, which quickens the process immensely.
Sean Penalver of Broward County was exonerated after being on death row for six years.
“If this bill had been law, it would have ended my life — even though I was innocent,” Penalver said in a statement to the Miami Herald.
The process that Florida has been using for 40 years to sentence and convict people to death, was struck down on January 12, 2016 by the United States Supreme Court.
It gave judges and not juries, too much power in the decision of whether someone should be put to death or not.
The 8-1 ruling said that the state’s death-penalty sentencing procedure is flawed because juries don’t make the final decision; instead they only play an advisory role in recommending capital sentences.
“The Sixth Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for seven justices in the new decision.
“A jury’s mere recommendation is not enough,” said Sotamayor.
Florida has had 24 exonerations from death row, more than any other state.
After an inmate is executed, the law allows the state to destroy all records relating to the convicted killer’s case so that if anyone has been wrongly put to death, nothing can be done about it.

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