Gavel Grab

Part of Florida Death Penalty Voided by High Court

In an 8-1 ruling on Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a part of Florida’s capital punishment law, The New York Times reported.

It was unconstitutional, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for seven members of the court, that after a state jury recommended a death sentence for Timothy Lee Hurst with a 7-5 vote, a judge subsequently weighed the evidence independently and concluded that Hurst should receive the death penalty.

“The Sixth Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death,” Sotomayor wrote. “A jury’s mere recommendation is not enough.” Justice Stephen G. Breyer cast an eighth vote on the side of the majority but took a different approach, finding a violation of the Eighth Amendment.

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