Thursday, December 17, 2015

Report finds Florida clings to death penalty despite nationwide decline

Posted By on Thu, Dec 17, 2015 at 6:21 AM

  • Photo via Florida Department of Corrections
Although Florida only executed two people this year (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. 

The year-end report by DPIC found the death penalty "declined by virtually every measure in 2015," according to its website. In 2015, 28 people were executed, which is the lowest amount since 1991, and 49 people were sentenced to death. Only six states carried out executions, and Florida, Texas, Georgia and Missouri accounted for 93 percent of all executions in 2015. 

Despite declining support among Americans for the death penalty, Florida sentenced nine people to death this year, second only to California, where 14 people were sentenced to death. Out of Florida's nine sentences, seven were from non-unanimous jury recommendation of death. This practice is barred in all states except for Florida, Alabama and Delaware. 

The Miami Herald reports the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Hurst v. Florida that challenged the state's practice of allowing a jury to "recommend a death sentence by a bare majority of seven of 12 jurors without also having to unanimously agree on aggravating circumstances to justify the ultimate punishment." 

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