Death Penalty Law Unconstitutional: Judge

Florida jurors not specific enough with recommendations, Miami judge ruled

A Miami federal judge has ruled that Florida's method of imposing the death penalty is unconstitutional, but the decision alone does not strike down the law.

The ruling Monday by U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez applies only in the case of convicted murderer Paul H. Evans, who is on Florida's Death Row. The ruling means that Evans will get a new sentencing hearing.

Martinez said Florida's system violates the Constitution because jurors are not required to announce specific findings on aggravating factors required to justify the death penalty. The jurors make only a general recommendation of death or life by majority vote.

The final decision is up to a judge.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2002 held that jurors must determine the specific aggravating factors.
Martinez's ruling could be appealed.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us