Civil and Human Rights

The Impact Of Supreme Court Decision On Florida’s Death Sentence

By Catherine Welch

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Florida’s death penalty system is unconstitutional. The court ruled that Florida gave too much authority to judges.


The 8-1 decision said Florida’s system is flawed because juries can only recommend the death penalty while judges make the final decision.


Florida, Alabama and Delaware are the three states where a unanimous jury decision is not required. Brianne Gorod, appellate counsel with the Constitutional Accountability Center, said the Florida ruling puts other states on notice. 


“I think this decision will put any other states that might be tempted to leaving capital sentences to judges, that that’s not okay under our constitution,” said Gorod.


The Supreme Court ruling could trigger appeals from some of the 390 Florida inmates on death row. Florida State University legal scholar Mark Schlackman said it’s going to take a while to unravel the impact for people currently on Death Row, and whether it applies to just one case.


“There will be those who argue that it applies to Florida’s entire death row. And some will say cases that are similarly situated it would make sense it would apply to them,” said Schlackman. “So these issues have to be clarified.”


Statehouse leaders reacted to the ruling saying lawmakers will move quickly to overhaul the state’s death penalty system.

More from Civil and Human Rights

Civil and Human Rights
June 20, 2024

RELEASE: Supreme Court decision keeps the door open to accountability for police officers who make false charges

WASHINGTON, DC – Following this morning’s decision at the Supreme Court in Chiaverini v. City...
By: Brian R. Frazelle
Civil and Human Rights
June 11, 2024

The People Who Dismantled Affirmative Action Have a New Strategy to Crush Racial Justice

Last summer, in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard College, the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority struck...
By: David H. Gans
Civil and Human Rights
April 12, 2024

TV (Gray TV): CAC’s Frazelle Joins Gray TV to Discuss Fourth Amendment Case at Supreme Court

Gray TV Washington News Bureau
Civil and Human Rights
April 22, 2024

RELEASE: Justices grapple with line-drawing but resist overturning important precedent in Eighth Amendment homelessness case

WASHINGTON, DC – Following oral argument at the Supreme Court this morning in City of...
By: Brian R. Frazelle
Civil and Human Rights
April 19, 2024

Will the Supreme Court Uphold the 14th Amendment and Block an Oregon Law Criminalizing Homelessness?

Nearly 38 million Americans live in poverty. In some areas and among some populations, entrenched economic...
By: David H. Gans
Civil and Human Rights
April 18, 2024

DEI critics were hoping that the Supreme Court’s Muldrow decision would undermine corporate diversity programs. It does no such thing

The Supreme Court just delivered a big win for workers and workplace equality–but conservatives are...