Entries tagged with “Ron DeSantis

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Jul 17, 2023

Application of Florida’s New 8 – 4 Capital Sentencing Scheme Moves the Goalposts” and Violates Constitutional Prohibition on Ex Post Facto Laws

Florida’s new death sen­tenc­ing law can­not apply to defen­dants who com­mit­ted their crimes before the law was passed ear­li­er this year, Florida Circuit Judge Kevin Abdoney rules. Florida law pre­vi­ous­ly required that a sen­tenc­ing jury must unan­i­mous­ly vote for death before the court could impose a death sen­tence, but in April of 2023, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that allows a jury to rec­om­mend a death sen­tence with as few as 8 votes. The rul­ing in Bryan Riley’s case means that the new law will not apply…

Policy Issues

Sentencing Alternatives

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Nov 27, 2023

Florida Judge Imposes Life Sentence for Joshua McClellan, Overriding Non-Unanimous Jury Recommendation for Death

On November 20, Florida Circuit Judge Heidi Davis sen­tenced Joshua McClellan to life in prison after a non-unan­i­mous jury returned a rec­om­men­da­tion of death in September by a 10 – 2 vote. Judge Davis not­ed the mit­i­ga­tion evi­dence pre­sent­ed by Mr. McClellan’s defense, includ­ing men­tal health eval­u­a­tions and tes­ti­mo­ny regard­ing his trau­mat­ic upbring­ing, as an expla­na­tion for her deci­sion. Mr. McClellan was one of the first defen­dants to receive a non-unan­i­mous death rec­om­men­da­tion under a new law signed ear­li­er this year by Governor and pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ron DeSantis, allow­ing death sen­tences when…

Facts & Research

Crimes Punishable by Death

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Dec 18, 2023

Florida Prosecutors Seek First Death Sentence Under New Child Sex Abuse Law

On December 14, 2023, Lake County, Florida pros­e­cu­tors announced they are seek­ing the death penal­ty for a man accused of com­mit­ting the sex­u­al bat­tery of a minor under the age of twelve. A state­ment from the office of State Attorney William Gladson said the deci­sion reflects the sever­i­ty of the crime and its impact on the com­mu­ni­ty.” Earlier this year, Governor Ron DeSantis signed leg­is­la­tion that expands death penal­ty eli­gi­bil­i­ty to those con­vict­ed of sex crimes against chil­dren. This is the first case in which Florida pros­e­cu­tors have sought a…

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Sentencing Alternatives

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Jan 03, 2024

Overwhelming Percentage of Florida’s Hurst Resentencing Hearings End in Life Sentences

According to new research by the Death Penalty Information Center, 82% of Florida death-sen­tenced pris­on­ers who com­plet­ed new sen­tenc­ing pro­ceed­ings under Hurst v. Florida (2016) have been resen­tenced to life in prison with­out parole. Hurst found Florida’s death penal­ty scheme uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, and the Florida Supreme Court sub­se­quent­ly held that new death sen­tences must be unan­i­mous, neces­si­tat­ing new sen­tenc­ing hear­ings. Of the 157 cas­es DPIC pre­vi­ous­ly iden­ti­fied as Hurst-eli­gi­ble — any­one sen­tenced to death by a non-unan­i­mous jury since 2002 — about two-thirds have been resolved and one-third remain. However, in April 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed…

Facts & Research

Crimes Punishable by Death

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Recent Legislative Activity

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United States Supreme Court

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May 17, 2024

Tennessee Authorizes Death Penalty for Child Sexual Assault in Direct Challenge to Supreme Court Precedent

On May 9, Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee signed a bill autho­riz­ing the death penal­ty for aggra­vat­ed rape of a child, fol­low­ing Florida’s pas­sage of a sim­i­lar law last year. Both laws con­tra­dict long­stand­ing Supreme Court prece­dent hold­ing the death penal­ty uncon­sti­tu­tion­al for non-homi­cide crimes. Tennessee’s law takes effect on July 1. The state has had a death penal­ty mora­to­ri­um in place since May 2022 after Governor Lee learned that state offi­cials had failed to test exe­cu­tion drugs for bac­te­r­i­al con­t­a­m­i­na­tion; he ordered a sub­se­quent inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion which found that…

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Innocence

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Sentencing Data

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Sep 13, 2023

When Jurors Do Not Agree, Should a Death Sentence Be Imposed?

In most states, a death sen­tence may only be imposed by a jury in unan­i­mous agree­ment. But in two recent cas­es, defen­dants faced the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a death sen­tence despite the objec­tions of jurors.