Some good news: the tide turning on the death penalty

The Florida Supreme Court overturned a state statute that allowed a jury to impose a death sentence by a 10-2 vote.  In order to impose the death penalty, the Court ruled that a jury most be unanimous. It may not be an obviously major decision, but these jury voting rules are enormously important, especially with how we know prosecutors abuse peremptory strikes to keep minorities off the jury.  If the rules on such peremptory-strike abuses are so hard to enforce, (or just as accurately, if courts are unwilling to enforce those rules), then this unanimity rule is at least a back-up check on prosecutors.

http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2016/sc12-1947.pdf

Author: Jed Shugerman

Legal historian at Fordham Law School, teaching Torts, Administrative Law, and Constitutional History. Father of three, married to a Canadian, but I'm not laughing at any of the "So you really can move to Canada!" jokes in 2016. Red Sox and Celtics fan, youth soccer coach. Author of "The People's Courts: Pursuing Judicial Independence in America" (2012) on the rise of judicial elections in America. I'm working on the Emoluments litigation against Trump, as well as a history of prosecutors and American politics, and another project on the origins of "independent agencies" in America.

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